Google, in partnership with the X PRIZE Foundation, has just announced that they will give $20 million to the first privately owned corporation that succeeds in landing a rover to the moon. Additionally, to be eligible for the prize, the rover will have to travel a distance of 1312 feet and send footage of its trip back to Earth.
The race to the moon won’t be easy or cheap. Teams have to raise money to build a roaming spacecraft that will be tough enough to survive a landing and have the smarts to complete a set of tasks. Each rover must also be equipped with high-definition video and still cameras to document the journey.
Whoever accomplishes the feat by the end of 2012 will receive $20 million. If there is no winner, the purse will drop to $15 million until the end of 2014 when the contest expires. There is also a $5 million second-place prize and $5 million in bonus money to teams that go beyond the minimum requirements.