The Google Lunar X Prize has once again extended its deadline, this time to Dec. 31, 2017. The announcement comes six months after the $30 million competition extended its deadline from Dec. 31, 2015 to the end of 2016.
Under the new schedule, at least one team must announce a firm launch contract by the end of this year or the competition will end. If the competition continues, other teams in the competition will have until the end of 2016 to announce launch contracts in order to stay in the race.
The $30 million competition was announced in 2007 with an original deadline of 2012. The competition is based on a failed business venture by X Prize Founder Pete Diamandis that sought to mount a private robotic expedition to the moon.
The official announcement follows.
Deadline For $30 Million Google Lunar XPRIZE Extended To End Of 2017
Today, XPRIZE and Google have officially confirmed a further extension of the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE. We continue to see substantial progress from our teams, and after months of discussion, we have decided to provide additional time for teams to plan and make arrangements for a future launch. Securing an available window with a launch provider is a calculated logistical process that can be many months in the making, in some cases more than a year, so an extended schedule will benefit our teams a great deal as they move towards taking the next step in the competition.
Here is a snapshot of the revised timeline:
- At least one team must provide XPRIZE and Google with notification of a launch contract by December 31, 2015 for the competition to be extended until December 31, 2017.
- If at least one team provides notification of a launch contract by December 31, 2015, all of the other remaining teams will have until December 31, 2016 to also provide notification of a launch contract, in order to move forward in the competition.
- If no team has provided XPRIZE and Google with notification of launch contract by December 31, 2015, the competition will conclude.
The Google Lunar XPRIZE is an unprecedented competition, challenging teams to accomplish a feat that has never been achieved—the safe landing of a private craft on the lunar surface that travels at least 500 meters and transmits high-definition video and imagery back to Earth. We are consistently impressed with the technical expertise, collaboration and enthusiasm exhibited by our teams. It goes without saying that space exploration comes with a myriad of challenges, and the mission we are asking teams to accomplish is an extremely difficult one. It is for this primary reason that we have decided to extend the competition timeline. We look forward to the awarding of this important prize and firmly believe that a whole new economy around low-cost access to the moon will ultimately be the result.