Google's Lunar XPrize competition has only five contenders left. The five successful teams are SpaceIL, Moon Express, Synergy Moon, Team Indus and Hakuto, according to an announcement by the X Prize Foundation. The teams participating in this international competition are all racing to become the very first private company to successfully launch a spacecraft that will touchdown on the moon before the end of 2017. Aside from your standard moon traveling, the teams have also been required to travel a minimum of 500 meters once they are there.
Google Lunar XPrize was piloted in 2007 with the goal of addressing specific needs for society with a focus on coming up with ways to lower the cost of spaceflight. The teams, which are based in different countries across the globe, have already been devising their plans using different routes to the Moon. The teams also need to send back both photos and live video streams or "Mooncasts" from the surface of the Moon. Of course, the teams have also been planning how to efficiently complete this task. The participating teams, which has been told that cannot get more than 10 percent of its funding from their governments, have been limited to privately funding their space missions.
The 16 teams who got cut from final round will also be awarded. The different groups will be splitting a 1 million USD as a "Diversity Prize". This is meant as a reward for unique ways to spaceflight and for all the effort related to educational outreach the different groups have done so far.
"Each of these teams has pushed the boundaries to demonstrate that you don't have to be a government superpower to send a mission to the Moon," says Chanda Gonzales-Mowrer, senior director of the Google Lunar X Prize. "while inspiring audiences to pursue the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics."