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September 13, 2007

Google Lunar X PRIZE


Google sponsors an exciting challenge to reconquer the Moon and bring interesting data from there. "Private companies from around the world will compete to land a privately funded robotic rover on the Moon that is capable of completing several mission objectives, including roaming the lunar surface for at least 500 meters and sending video, images and data back to the Earth." The prize is $30 million and the intention is to revive the interest for exploring the Moon.

"The Moon is a stepping stone to the rest of the solar system and a source of solutions to some of the most pressing environmental problems that we face on Earth – energy independence and climate change. Already, governments from around the world recognize the importance of lunar exploration, and national space agencies from the United States, Russia, China, India, Japan, and the nations of Europe plan to send probes to the Moon in the coming decade."

Google teamed up with the X PRIZE Foundation, well-known for the Ansari X PRIZE, a competition that offered $10 million to "the first non-government organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks". Google bought a replica of the SpaceShipOne, the winner of the Ansari X PRIZE, and installed it inside Building 43 at Googleplex.

In other news, Google Moon received an update and now includes "high-resolution immersive panoramas from every Apollo landing site (available in context for the first time), historic audio clips, re-projected high-resolution charts, surface imagery, and elevation data from the Clementine and Apollo missions". There's also a new Google site that showcases other space-related Google projects.


More at:
Google's Official Blog
Google LatLong Blog

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