Google is co-sponsoring a contest that would grant a $30 million prize pot to the first private company that lands a roving space craft on the moon that is also able to transmit high-resolution images and video footages back to Earth.
Google has partnered with non-profit organization X Prize Foundation, which sponsored the first manned private spaceflight in 2004.
Private companies interested in participating in this ambitious project face tough challenges in order to successfully grab the prize pot.
First, the space craft must be able to withstand the severe impact of landing on the moon.
Second, it must carry a high resolution video and still cameras to take great shots and video streams of the lunar landscapes.
And third, those still images and video streams must be transmitted back to earth where Google will be waiting to stream them on its portal.
To carry out this mission, participating organizations have two options to do this – either build the space craft on their own or sub-contract the building of the rocket to a specialist rocket company.
Alan Eustace, Senior VP of Engineering wrote in the Official Google Blog that Google is hoping to spark renewed interest in the scientific and mathematical fields:
“Finally, we hope the contest will help renew public interest in fields like math, engineering and computer science, especially among the young people on whom we’ll all be depending to tackle tomorrow’s technical challenges, whether they’re on the web or among the stars.”