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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Moon Rocketeers Take One Small Step, on Isle of Man


The two-day Google Lunar X Prize Summit, which begins today (Oct. 4) on the island in the Irish Sea, brings together team representatives, officials from Google and the X Prize Foundation and space-industry experts. Teams will make presentations about their missions and discuss the competition's rules and judging procedures.

"We are incredibly excited for this event," said William Pomerantz, senior director for space prizes at the X Prize Foundation, the nonprofit group organizing the lunar contest. "The Google Lunar X Prize has a great deal of momentum now, with an incredible roster of teams and with major agencies such as NASA stepping up to become customers of our teams."

Racing to the moon

The Google Lunar X prize is an international moon exploration challenge to land a robot on the lunar surface, have it travel at least 1,650 feet (500 meters) and send data and images back to Earth. The first privately funded team to do this by Dec. 31, 2012, will receive the $20 million grand prize.

An additional $10 million is set aside for second place and various special accomplishments, such as finding water-ice in lunar craters, bringing the prize's total purse to $30 million.

Teams have until the end of 2010 to throw their hats in the ring. The most recent entrant, a team from Alabama, did so last month.

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