By Alex Hall on October 19, 2011
No, not the Google Lunar X PRIZE, the Government missions! Under the terms of the Google Lunar X PRIZE, if a Government funded mission lands on the Moon before one of our teams, the main prize purse is reduced to $15million from $20million. How likely is this? Well, we are following with interest the other potential missions, although the information we are able to get isn't always that reliable as none of the upcoming missions are from the USA or ESA.
Today a Russian report provides information about a planned "Luna-Glob" mission to launch in 2014 to look for water that will perform soil sampling experiments. It also mentions follow up missions to create a robotic base on the lunar surface. This is part of the already planned collaboration between the Indian Space Agency, ISRO, and Russia's Roskosmos on Chandrayaan-2 which is still described as launching in 2013 on the ISRO site. The Chinese are planning to launch Chang'e3 in 2013, a lander to follow the two orbiters that they have deployed over the past few years. Information on the progress of this lander, which has been touted as the first craft to land on the Moon since Luna 24 in 1976, is often contradictory and vague.
We have several Google Lunar X PRIZE teams aiming at dates in 2013 and 2014, so it's starting to look like it might get quite crowded up there!