WHEN ARE LAUNCHES HAPPENING?
Both SpaceIL and Moon Express have verified launches for 2017! All other teams have until the end of 2016 to announce a verified launch contract to remain in the competition and complete their mission by the end of 2017. Stay tuned for more news!
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
Registrations for new teams closed on December 31, 2010, but you can still get involved by partnering with one of the currently registered teams (http://lunar.xprize.org/teams)! Also, from time to time, teams drop out for reasons such as lack of funding or other resources. We do accept changes in ownership of teams that are currently competing so you can also consider offering to purchase one of the teams directly. Additionally, Teams are always looking for investors so that’s another opportunity to get involved. You may find contact information on the teams and reach out directly via our website: http://lunar.xprize.org/teams.
DOESN’T IT COST FAR MORE THAN $20 MILLION TO LAND ON THE MOON?
The Google Lunar XPRIZE teams are estimating their complete missions will cost between $5 Million and $80 Million including launch, soft landing on the Moon and surface operations. Small, robotic lunar explorers can be far cheaper than big Apollo-like missions that take humans. The Google Lunar XPRIZE aims to spur sustainable and routine robotic exploration of the Moon, as a stepping stone towards the eventual return and settlement by humans.
ARE PEOPLE ALLOWED TO OWN PART OF THE MOON OR EXPLOIT IT FOR COMMERCIAL GAIN?
The Outer Space Treaty (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_Space_Treaty) is the principal legal document that determines what is allowed on the Moon. Ratified by over 100 countries, it forbids any government from claiming a celestial resource such as the Moon or a planet, claiming instead that the celestial bodies are the common heritage of mankind. The treaty is, however, largely silent on the issue of what private companies can do on the Moon, stating only that private activities should be overseen by the respective national governments.
A small number of non space-faring countries created another treaty called the Moon Treaty (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_Treaty) that attempted to hand over jurisdiction of the Moon to the international community, but none of the space powers signed that treaty.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO PROTECT THE HARDWARE ON THE MOON FROM PREVIOUS LUNAR MISSIONS?
All teams competing in the Google Lunar XPRIZE are expected to conduct their missions in a way that preserves humankind's legacy on the Moon. The judging panel will approve each team's mission plans before they launch to ensure that they are following the best practices for preserving lunar heritage, including those published by NASA (see http://www.nasa.gov/directorates/heo/library/reports/lunar-artifacts.html#.VQdrABaOG-N).
I HAVE A GREAT IDEA. CAN YOU HELP ME REALIZE IT?
We frequently get contacted by people with new business plans or technology ideas. We think it's great that other people share our passion for pushing the boundaries of space exploration, but if you're looking for funding or partnerships, please be informed that XPRIZE cannot help you in those ways. XPRIZE is dedicated to developing and operating the best possible prizes. If you have a suggestion for a future space prize, please log it here (http://www.xprize.org/prizes/future-prizes) and XPRIZE will consider it!
WE WANT TO SCREEN THE DOME SHOW. CAN WE GET A COPY OF IT?
Yes, we are making the "Back to the Moon for Good" dome show available to planetariums all around the world. Please see this page (http://lunar.xprize.org/education/domeshow-licensing) for details! You can also view the flat-screen edition on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkivPFtLOj4
CAN I HAVE A TOUR OF XPRIZE OR ONE OF THE TEAMS’ FACILITIES?
Sorry, XPRIZE doesn't offer tours to the general public. Please contact teams (http://lunar.xprize.org/teams) directly if you would like a tour of their facility.
CAN YOU PROVIDE INPUT TO MY ACADEMIC RESEARCH?
Where possible, XPRIZE will provide data and other inputs to academic research projects. Please submit your specific query on the Contact Form (http://lunar.xprize.org/about/contact), selecting "Academic Research" from the drop down box.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THE EDUCATION AND OUTREACH RELATED TO THE PRIZE?
We want to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and space explorers. We have created a youth program called MoonBots. Please visit http://www.moonbots.org to see how you can get involved in the kids’ version of the Google Lunar XPRIZE!
IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING? ARE THE TEAMS REALLY WORKING ON IT?
DON’T WE HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO, OR SPEND OUR MONEY ON?!
John F. Kennedy best addressed this question, in 1961:
“But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept...” (http://er.jsc.nasa.gov/seh/ricetalk.htm)
DIDN’T XPRIZE ALREADY RUN A LUNAR LANDER PRIZE?
The Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander XCHALLENGE (NGLLXC) (http://lunarlander.xprize.org) was a $2 million dollar earth-based prize program for building and flying vehicles that simulated the journey from lunar orbit to the surface of the Moon, and vice versa. The rules of the NGLLXC were set up to incentivize early stage technology developments for vertical take-off and vertical landing rockets (VTVL) with similar performance to lunar lander missions. Although the exact vehicles developed for the NGLLXC are unlikely to go to the Moon, the core technologies and the teams that designed them have an important role to play in the new era of lunar exploration! Several NGLLXC teams and team members are directly competing in the Google Lunar XPRIZE already, typically as suppliers and partners.
AFTER THE MOON, WHAT’S NEXT FOR XPRIZE?
We will continue to push boundaries in the areas of commercial space activity in the vicinity of the Earth, the Moon, and other frontiers deeper into space! Stay tuned for future announcements related to upcoming Space Prizes.