First Google Lunar X Prize contenders announced

panorama_moon2.jpg

The X PRIZE Foundation and Google, Inc. have just announced the first ten teams in the robotic race for the Google Lunar X PRIZE. With a total prize money of US$30 million it is the richest international competition in history. Six months after launch, ten teams have registered to compete for the first place worth US$20 million. They include the European team ARCA, a former contender in the Ansari X PRIZE and and well known for their innovative suborbital manned system Stabilo as well as the newly assembled team Astrobotic uniting Carnegie Mellon University, Raytheon Missile Systems Company and the University of Arizona.

To win the challenge teams will have to send a robot to the moon, travel 500 meters and transmit video, images and data back to the Earth. If this challenge will be anything like the Ansari X PRIZE we can look forward to some very innovative robotic concepts. And it's looking good: In addition to the ten fully registered teams the organizers have already received over 525 expressions of interest from more than 52 nations.

Image from http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/

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