Why the Moon?
Scientists and explorers have shown that the Moon is an ideal platform from which to study the Earth and the wider solar system and universe. There is much we can learn about the formation of our planet and the solar system by studying the Moon. Further, the Moon has untapped resources that could allow us to improve the quality of life here on Earth as well as expand our permanent presence beyond Earth orbit.
Why an XPRIZE?
History has shown that incentive prizes stimulate innovation and create revolutions. At $30 million, the Google Lunar XPRIZE is the largest incentive prize of all time, reflecting the vast technological and funding challenge of achieving a lunar landing.
Google is sponsoring the Google Lunar XPRIZE to help stimulate a passion for science, technology, engineering, and math related research and education in a generation of potential innovators. They also expect this prize to stimulate the space economy in ways that provide lower cost and more plentiful access to space than is currently possible.
Commercial space companies are now opening up the sub-orbital and orbital frontier - doing things that once were the realm of governments and their contractors and achieving it in ways that are often more cost effective and efficient. This “NewSpace” economy was stimulated in a significant way by the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE, awarded in 2004, for the achievement of regular sub orbital flight.
Following on from the Ansari XPRIZE, the $1 million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander XCHALLENGE spurred innovation in technologies to soft land on the Moon. Building upon that to innovate inexpensive regular access to the Moon is the next critical stepping stone for further exploration of our solar system and universe.
Who Runs the Prize?
Google has contracted with the XPRIZE Foundation to administer all aspects of the Google Lunar XPRIZE. The XPRIZE Foundation has a dedicated small team working on this prize as well as access to many advisors. A panel comprising highly qualified and impartial judges from around the world will judge the prize. They will be responsible for evaluating teams’ compliance with the requirements of the XPRIZE.
What will be the outcome?
The Google Lunar XPRIZE aims to create a new era of lunar exploration that will be more sustainable and more accessible to all than humanity’s first moon race. We believe that the Google Lunar XPRIZE and the stories of the global community of innovators and entrepreneurs competing for the it, will motivate the high tech workforce of tomorrow and show people of all ages how they can personally contribute to a worthy and exciting endeavor like space exploration.