The Google Lunar X Prize
The Google Lunar X Prize is an international challenge to land a robot on the lunar surface, have it travel at least 1,650 feet (500 meters) and send data and images back to Earth.
The first privately funded team to do all of this before the end of 2017 will receive the $20 million grand prize. An additional $10 million is set aside for second place and various special accomplishments, bringing the prize's total purse to $30 million.
Here's a look at the five teams left in the competition as of August 2017, and other prominent teams that fell out of the running:
Moon Express is a privately funded lunar transportation and data services company based at the NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley. The company plans to send a series of robotic spacecraft to the moon for ongoing exploration and commercial development focused on benefits to Earth and has signed a partnership agreement with NASA for the development of its lunar lander system.
Team SpaceIL is a nonprofit organization and the only Israeli group competing in the Google Lunar X Prize.
Synergy Moon will use a lunar-direct launch of an Interorbital Systems’ modular NEPTUNE rocket to carry a lunar lander and at least one rover to the surface of the moon.
Team Indus, based in India, is a for-profit organization and plans for GLXP to be the first step towards establishing a global innovation brand.
Artist's impression of Team Hakuto's rover on the surface of the moon.
Eleven teams were recently eliminated from the competition, after failing to secure a verified launch deal by Dec. 31, 2016. Here's a look at those erstwhile contenders.
Astrobotic Technology Inc., a spin-off from Carnegie Mellon University, is developing a series of surface robotic missions to the moon. They will deliver more than 100 kg (240 lbs) per expedition for space agencies and corporations and beam 3D imagery to billions of people on Earth.
Team Italia proposes reliability and costs as driving criteria for the mission design. The team is considering many different possible rover designs, ranging from traditional wheeled rovers to more advanced robotics. The image seen on this page is an example of one such concept, currently under consideration.
Team Stellar's spacecraft and rover plan to navigate to the moon, execute a soft landing on the surface, and conduct an extended exploration of the lunar surface all while streaming live 3D Stereoscopic High Definition video back to Earth.
Independence–X Aerospace is based in Malaysia and has the Independence Lunar Rover – 1 (ILR-1) in the competition.