Time Running Out to Win Google Lunar X Prize

Lunar rover (Credit: TeamIndus)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The clock is ticking for the remaining teams in the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize competition.

Barring another extension, they have until March 31 to land a vehicle on moon and travel 500 meters across it to claim the $20 million first prize or $5 million second prize. It’s not clear whether any of them will make the deadline.

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GXLP Update: Audi AG Supports Part-Time Scientists Moon Bid

Part-Time Scientists rover. (Credit: Audi)
Part-Time Scientists rover. (Credit: Audi)

INGOLSTADT, Germany (Audi PR) — Audi is taking off for the moon – along with the Part-Time Scientists. Nearly 45 years after NASA’s Apollo 17 completed the last manned mission to the moon, the cooperating partners have selected the old landing site of Apollo 17 as the new target.

A group of German engineers in the Part-Time Scientists team is working within the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition to transport an unmanned rover to the moon. Audi is supporting the Part-Time Scientists with its know-how in several fields of technology – from quattro all-wheel drive and lightweight construction to electric mobility and piloted driving.

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Google Increases Financial Commitment to Google Lunar X Prize

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Google has increased the maximum amount it will give out in the Google Lunar X Prize from $30 million to $40 million, the XPrize announced.

The increase was made to accommodate a series of milestone prizes the competition awarded this week to five of the 18 teams in the competition. A total of $5.25 million was awarded to Astrobotic, Hakuto, Moon Express, Part-time Scientists and Team Indus. The amounts ranged from $500,000 to $1.75 million.

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XPRIZE Awards $5.25 Million in Milestone Prizes to 5 Teams

SAN FRANCISCO (XPRIZE PR)  XPRIZE, the global leader in incentivized prize competition, today announced that five Google Lunar XPRIZE teams have been awarded a combined US$5.25 million in recognition of key technological advancements toward their quest to land a private spacecraft on the surface of the moon. Determined by a judging panel of science, aeronautics and space industry experts that evaluated numerous tests over the past year, the Milestone Prizes honor hardware and software innovations needed to overcome technical risks in the three crucial areas—Imaging, Mobility and Landing systems—all of which are necessary to complete a successful Google Lunar XPRIZE mission.

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Everybody Wins in Google Lunar X Prize Milestone Competition

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UPDATE: The total amount awarded is $5.25 million out of $6 million. The winners are:

  • Astrobotic: $1.75 million (Landing, Mobility, Imaging)
  • Moon Express: $1.25 million (Landing, Imaging)
  • Team Indus: $1 million (Landing)
  • Part Time Scientists: $750,000 (Mobility, Imaging)
  • Hakuto: $500,000 (Mobility)

Moon Express did not win any funds for mobility. Team Indus did not receive any funding for imagining.

The milestone funds will be deducted from the $20 million first prize and the $5 million second prize should any of the teams win them.

The winners of the $6 million Google Lunar X Prize milestone award competition won’t be announced until sometime on Monday, but it appears that everyone is a winner.

The competition has been inviting people to an exclusive live chat on Monday with the five winning teams. Of the 18 remaining teams in the competition, the number competing for the milestones was….five. So, everyone must have won something.

The prizes will be awarded during a glitzy, invitation-only affair in San Francisco on Monday night. Team members are flying in from all over the world to receive the prizes.

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Google Lunar X Prize Extends Deadline as Astrobotic’s Entry Wins First Milestone Awards

Astrobotic lander (Credit: Mark Maxwell)
Astrobotic lander (Credit: Mark Maxwell)

The deadline for winning the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize has been moved back again. The XPrize Foundation has announced a one-year delay in the prize to Dec. 31, 2016, contingent upon at least one team providing “documentation of a scheduled launch by December 31, 2015, for all teams to move forward in the competition.”

The foundation also announced that Astrobotic and its partner, Carnegie Melon University (CMU), had won the first two of a series of milestone awards aimed at providing funding to the teams. XPrize and Google will award up to $6 million in milestone prizes next month.

“We continue to see significant progress from our Google Lunar XPRIZE teams, most recently demonstrated in the pursuit of the Milestone Prizes, in which teams exhibited substantial technological achievements that will ultimately support their missions,” Robert K. Weiss, XPRIZE vice chairman and president, said in a press release.

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GLXP Part-Time Scientists Team Adds New Partner

After the Part-Time Scientists gained the support of the DLR, the team is now pleased to announce a partnership with the Planetary Geodesy Department of the College of Geodesy and Geoinformation Science for their 2013 lunar mission. The researchers at the Planetary Geodesy Department are exploring planetary bodies by measuring their attributes, such as size, gravity, and rotation, mapping their surfaces globally and locally, and investigating relationships between these. Prof. Dr. Jürgen Oberst chairs the department and also heads the DLR Institute for Planetary Research in Berlin. Among other things, Prof. Dr. Oberst is involved in NASA’s LRO mission launched in June 2009, where the “Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter” explores the surface of the moon from an altitude of just 50 kilometers.

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Google Lunar X Prize Competitor Part-Time-Scientists Adds Xilinx as Partner

PRESS RELEASE
January 28, 2010

Today, team Part-Time-Scientists announced Xilinx Inc. as an official sponsor of the team. The semiconductor industry leader is the world’s biggest provider of programmable platforms. As inventor of the first commercially viable field programmable gate array (FPGA), Xilinx provides the Part-Time-Scientists with technology and know how that put rovers on Mars and help create ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) at CERN.

Team Part-Time-Scientists, headquartered in Berlin, Germany with 38 team members is among 21 teams from 18 countries that are competing for their share of the $30 million prize purse.

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