Five finalist teams in the Google Lunar XPRIZE have been set, and they all have rocket launch contracts to go to the Moon in 2017.
$30 million in prizes is on the line, including the $20 million grand prize for whoever gets there first (and completes the competition goals), and these teams are employing a variety of technology to land first and claim the fame.
They hail from Japan, India, the United States, and Israel, with launches set to happen from places as far-flung as California, USA; Sriharikota, India; and Mahia, New Zealand. Here’s a look at all five teams, and their technology that’s set to make big space history.
* SpaceIL, Tel Aviv, Israel
SpaceIL signed a deal with SpaceX (through Spaceflight Services) to launch in late 2017. Using a “hopper” style of craft, where they will land on the lunar surface, fly 500m, and then touch down again to claim the prize
* Moon Express, Cape Canaveral, Florida
Famous for being the first private organization to get approval from their government to operate on the Moon (a necessary step for international space law), United States space start-up Moon Express are ready to bring the Moon back in a big way to Florida’s Space Coast. Using their hopping Moon lander (see the test version above), Moon Express looks to open up a bright future for the “eighth continent” and bring a real business plan to space. They’ve signed up with New Zealand’s up-and-coming Rocket Lab to launch from Mahia, New Zealand in late 2017.
Synergy Moon, International
Why buy a ride when you can build one? Synergy Moon team member Interorbital Systems will serve as their launch provider, using a NEPTUNE 8 rocket to carry the team to the moon from an open-ocean location off the California coast during the second half of 2017
Team Indus, India
Japan’s popular space team Hakuto has scored some big partnerships, including au by KDDI, Suzuki, rock band Sakanaction, and a longterm Moon-resources-exploration plan with the Japanese space agency JAXA; and now they’re lined up to launch on Team Indus’ Moon lander. The Indian and Japanese teams will work together to win the Moon race, launching for the Moon on December 28th from Sriharikota, India
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.