Annual Team Summit Comes to a Close
Another successful Team Summit just wrapped up in Japan where participating Google Lunar XPRIZE teams from around the world came together with XPRIZE staff, influencers and media to celebrate the NewSpace economy. Even though the Google Lunar XPRIZE is a competition, Team Summits foster a spirit of camaraderie that result in new relationships and collaborations among teams.
The Team Summit kicked off with an Opening Ceremony hosted at YouTube Space Tokyo where Prize Lead, Chanda Gonzales expressed gratitude to everyone who has been involved in the prize’s work the last year and gave a special thank you to those who had contributed to the effort of having the 2016 Team Summit in Japan. Each year, XPRIZE asks the teams to voluntarily submit an application to host the annual summit and this year the prize was pleased and honored to work with Team Hakuto from Japan. In addition to Team Hakuto’s gracious hospitality, ANA airline was also acknowledged for their generous support in being this year’s official airline sponsor. The evening ended by introducing the four winners of this year’s MOONBOTS Challenge to a crowded room of people who love the Google Lunar XPRIZE. The extraordinary exchanges and mutual admiration between the kids and the Google Lunar XPRIZE teams added a special element to the evening.
The programming for this year’s summit began the following day with two panel discussions. The first, “Science on the Moon” with Oded Aharonson (Mission Scientist, SpaceIL), Daniel Andrews (Resource Prospector Program Manager, NASA Ames), and Junichi Haruyama (Kaguya Camera Payload Project Scientist, JAXA), led Summit attendees through an exciting world of “lunar swirls,” “lunar caves,” and “lava tubes.” The impact beyond the mission of educating and inspiring the next generation of scientists and explorers was a common theme, as well as the inevitability of human exploration.
The second panel, “Long Term Vision of Lunar Commerce” with John Thornton (CEO, Astrobotic), Robert Boehme (CEO, Part-Time Scientists), and Robert Jacobson (Investor, Space Angels Network), discussed long-term business models of commercial space exploration and making the moon accessible to everyone.
Other Summit features included a “Prize Design Workshop,” presentations by all of the Google Lunar XPRIZE teams, a tour of Tokyo, a boat ride with serenading Geisha, and a traditional Japanese dinner with Taiko drumming.
In all, it was a great summit. (Catch all the photos here!) People from around the world got to look back at the momentous achievements of the last year, and dream of the ones that will take place this next year. Duomo Arigauto Japan!