The deadline for Google’s Lunar Xprize passed just days ago without a winner, but the lengthy 10-year competition to send a robot to the Moon’s surface had known for months that none of the five teams were ready for launch by the extended deadline of March 31, 2018. As a result, back in January, Google announced it was taking its $30 million in prize money back, leaving the exciting challenge with a bit of an anticlimactic end.
Xprize is back however, announcing today that the show will go on without a cash award or Google support, though they’re looking for a new sponsor to step in and float the prize for the Xprize.
“We are extraordinarily grateful to Google for funding the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE between September 2007 and March 31st, 2018. While that competition is now over, there are at least five teams with launch contracts that hope to land on the Lunar surface in the next two years,” said Xprize founder Peter H. Diamandis, M.D. in a statement. “Because of this tremendous progress, and near-term potential, XPRIZE is now looking for our next visionary Title Sponsor who wants to put their logo on these teams and on the lunar surface.”
The big focus of the whole scenario was to give private companies a chance and major incentive to join the host of government orgs that had landed a craft on the Moon. Xprize says that Google’s pledge and support eventually netted the teams involved as much as $300 million in investment to fund the missions.
Though Google Lunar Xprize stretched on through many deadline extensions only to end without a winner, with this new launch competition, the organization hopes they can capture the public’s imagination once again while hopefully soon also capturing the support of a mega-donor to put their name on the competition.
“At this point, we don’t want to give up on these teams, these teams are going to make it,” Diamandis said.