Back to the moon - a new space race

    On January 26, five Google Lunar XPrize contest teams gathered at the California Academy of Sciences, where Google announced the distribution of the first tranche of grants in the amount of $ 5.25 million . Grants are allocated unconditionally as a “gift”; they will help private companies continue their development for the lunar program.

    The Astrobotic company with a 3x3 meter lunar landing module received three grants at once for a total of $ 1.75 million in the categories “Disembarkation”, “Mobility” and “Shooting”

    . Astrobotic was the main winner at this stage (see the photo caption). In addition to it, California Express startup Moon Express received grants of $ 1.25 million in the categories of “Landing” and “Shooting”.

    Other winners are the Indian company Indus ($ 1 million in the Disembarkation category), the German Part-Time Scientists ($ 500 thousand in the Mobility category and $ 250 thousand in the Shooting category) and the Japanese Hakuto ($ 500 thousand in the category “ Mobility").

    Testing the Moon Express landing module

    All these companies will remain participants in the further Lunar XPrize marathon, whose winners will receive $ 20 million for first place and $ 5 million for second. Bonuses of $ 5 million are also provided for additional finds, for example, water on the moon.

    According to the terms of the competition, the winner will be the team that can safely land the robot on the lunar surface, after which it will move 500 meters to the side or inland and begin streaming in HDTV quality.

    Deadline - December 31, 2016.

    Google is confident that the construction of the lunar base is a matter of the coming years.

    By the first stage of the distribution of grants, the company has made publicly available the short documentary film “ Back To The Moon For Good - The New Space Race ”.

    The United States, the European Union, Russia, China announced their plans for the construction of lunar bases, not to mention private companies that also want to participate.

    “The moon - the“ eighth continent ”- has an area larger than that of North America and Brazil combined ... and people explored only 5% of the territory! There are amazing natural wonders, valuable resources, secrets that are waiting for a solution, ”said the Lunar XPrize website.

    “In Apollo's time, everyone imagined the moon as just a dry dead stone. It turned out that this is not so - it is a world with vast resources of platinum, nickel, iron, silver and all the things that we consider valuable on Earth, ” saysRobert Richards, Executive Director of Moon Express, which takes part in the Lunar XPrize space race. In recent years, this company has already bought four other bidders into the ownership.

    A new space race begins!

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