Google: To the moon, people, to the moon

Calling all space geeks. Google. and the X Prize Foundation Thursday announced the US$30 million Google Lunar X Prize.

The contest, which is open to all private firms from around the world, is looking for someone to build and land a privately funded spaceship on the moon in just over five years, according to a statement. The spaceship will include a robotic land rover that must then complete several missions -- including roaming at least 500 meters and sending videos, images and data back to Earth. The public will be able to view the images and data on the Google Lunar X Prize Web site.

"The Google Lunar X Prize calls on entrepreneurs, engineers and visionaries from around the world to return us to the lunar surface and explore this environment for the benefit of all humanity," Peter H. Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation, said in the statement. "Having Google fund the purse and title the competition punctuates our desire for breakthrough approaches and global participation."

The US$30 million prize money is divided up; there's a $20 million grand prize, a US$5 million second prize and $5 million in bonus prizes.

If no one reaches the moon by Dec. 31, 2012, the grand prize drops to US$15 million. The contest will end on Dec. 31, 2014, unless Google and the X Prize Foundation decide to extend it.

To win the second prize, a team must land its spacecraft on the moon, then rove and transmit data back to Earth. The second place prize money will be available until Dec. 31, 2014, unless the contest is extended. Teams can win bonus prizes by completing additional missions such as roving longer distances, discovering water or ice, and/or surviving through a frigid lunar night, which equates to approximately 14.5 Earth days.

"Why does Google love space? Well, for one thing, we just think it's cool," Alan Eustace, senior vice president of engineering at Google, said in a blog post. "More seriously, space exploration has a remarkable history of producing technological breakthroughs, from ablative heat shields and asteroid mining to invisible braces and Tang; the X Prize, too, could lead to important developments in robotic space exploration, a whole host of new Space Age materials, precision landing control technology and who knows what else."

Eustace said Google hopes the contest will help drum up public interest in fields such as math, engineering and computer science -- especially among the young people.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Linda Rosencrance

Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?