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Google launches $30m lunar competition

More than three decades after the last Apollo astronauts roamed the lunar surface, disparate universities, open-source engineers and quixotic aerospace start-ups are planning to start their own robotic missions to the Earth’s barren cousin. The return to the moon is part of the Google Lunar X Prize, a competition sponsored by Google with $30 million in prizes for the first two teams to land a robotic rover on the moon and send images and other data back home. At Google’s headquarters here on Thursday, 10 teams from five countries announced their intention to participate in the competition. They include a team led by William L. Whitaker, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and renowned roboticist; an affiliation of four universities and two major aerospace companies in Italy; and one group that is a loose association of engineers coordinating their efforts online.

Addressing the X Prize teams and journalists, Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, compared his company’s support of the competition with other companies’ sponsorship of yacht races. “The idea we can help spur the return to the moon and maybe even do it more quickly than some of the national plans is really exciting to me,” Mr. Brin said. Google will pay $20 million to the first team that lands on the moon, sends a package of data back to Earth, then travels at least 500 meters and sends another data package. The second team to accomplish the goals will win $5 million. Bonuses are offered for feats like visiting a historic landing site and finding and detecting lunar ice, but the prize money starts to shrink if the mission is not accomplished by 2012. It looks the Earth is getting too small for Google!

Source: NY Times 


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  1. King of Cycling
    February 22nd, 2008 | 11:14

    Australia will be the first to re-visit the Moon. Its much closer to us than anywhere else.

  2. godfella
    February 22nd, 2008 | 11:15

    Holy shneikels , that is just awesome. Great article!

  3. justin
    February 22nd, 2008 | 11:24

    very cool

  4. Dorje
    February 22nd, 2008 | 11:31

    I think Australia is closer to Uranus too! :D

    February 22nd, 2008 | 11:35

    As long as it’s okay with the USA.
    Because we landed on the moon first and stuck our flag in it. That means we own it. If you look back in history, their are only 3 ways to acquire land.

    1. By force
    2. Purchase/Trade/Gift from another who already owns it
    3. Be the first to it.

    So by law 3 of land ownership. We OWN the moon.

  6. Dorje
    February 22nd, 2008 | 11:44

    Oooops, I stand corrected. #5 has his head firmly planted in Uranus.

  7. lars
    February 22nd, 2008 | 11:51

    @5: If you didn’t notice the space doesn’t belong to anyone. There was an international agreement about several decades ago. – And by the way, do you OWN a girl when you stick your flag in her the first time?

  8. lars
    February 22nd, 2008 | 11:53

    @5: another idea came up to me. Didn’t the Native Americans discover America before you guys did?^^

  9. Matt
    February 22nd, 2008 | 12:01


    MORON. I honestly need to take some advil or something after reading your posts. Pure idiocy.

  10. Pole
    February 22nd, 2008 | 12:01

    Depends how big your ‘flag’ is :P

  11. Dorje
    February 22nd, 2008 | 12:16

    lol lars,

    Yup, DNA says “native” americans walked in from the Mongolian Plateau via the Siberian landbridge like 10,000 years ago. Oddly enough some eastern native north americans show european dna from like 5,000 years ago. Accordingly similarly crafted arrowheads from that era are found both in eastern US and France.

  12. Dorje
    February 22nd, 2008 | 12:30

    Oh, just occured to me. In order to be fair and unbiased lets also consider that Adam flagged Eve only 5,000 years ago ([email protected]). And, according to #5′s logic Tom Cruise would say Xenu Pwns all our @sses (or some other space dude. not quite sure and don’t care lol)

  13. Lasher
    February 22nd, 2008 | 12:58

    it’s great how they’re giving away 30m in prizes, yet not so great you need to have spent that much on an education to be smart enough to get the bastid into space let alone land on the moon.

  14. merry mas
    February 22nd, 2008 | 13:06

    nr 5, you are talking about land an the moon is a planet,

    acording to law nr 3 in your list the first people on earth own the earth, so we are citizens of africa

  15. JackOfNoTrade MasterOfNothing
    February 22nd, 2008 | 13:28

    I really wished I can be part of one of the ten or more teams participating. Just dreaming ^_^ But I really wish I could.

  16. ÆØÅ
    February 22nd, 2008 | 13:34

    At #11 the arrowheads are easy explained,they just had some damn strong archers back then….lol..and the martians are already on the moon,they are to be given atleast 1mill$….he he.

  17. hot daymn!
    February 22nd, 2008 | 14:08


    eh? but aren’t martians from mars? even if they did manage to get to the moon…

    ah well. the martians are extinct now that i’ve eaten all the marsbars in the fridge.

    muahahaha. XD

  18. hot daymn!
    February 22nd, 2008 | 14:11

    i used to love uranus btw.

    …USED TO.

  19. Ksawery
    February 22nd, 2008 | 14:15

    The moon in not the USA’s property.
    Don’t be childish.

  20. Rekrul
    February 22nd, 2008 | 15:25

    Of course the USA doesn’t own the moon… The aliens were there first. That’s why we stopped going to the moon; They didn’t want us up there. :)

    February 22nd, 2008 | 15:48


    The Native Americans did indeed discover America first, so by “law 3 of land ownership” they owned the American lands. However, by “law 1 of land ownership” we took the land away from them by force.


    Childish? Someday this will be a VERY important political issue. It may even lead to WW3.
    For example, say we build a missile silo on the moon, then years later the Chinese get jealous of a superior abilities and decided they also want to build a missile silo on the moon. We will say, “no Chinese people you cannot”! And our argument will be: “we first landed on the moons surface so we have ownership over the moon, no Chinese allowed.” We will site historical facts of how land ownership is initially acquired (law 3 of land ownership), and the international community will have to agree. So China will try to use “law 1 of land ownership” and take the moon by force, ultimately leading to WW3.

    How’s that for childish?

    February 22nd, 2008 | 15:56


    Let me help your thinking. If the first human inhabitants of this planet resided in Africa, that does NOT make EVERYONE an Africa citizen. Humans branched out and discovered NEW lands, thus becoming citizens of the NEW lands they discovered.

  23. deathfish
    February 22nd, 2008 | 16:15



    also, for someone from the US your english is horrible.

  24. fanboi
    February 22nd, 2008 | 16:51

    is this RELEASE log?
    please post if steve jobs does poop.
    Geez, this is so lame.

  25. Alex Cull
    February 22nd, 2008 | 16:53


    “@5: another idea came up to me. Didn’t the Native Americans discover America before you guys did?^^”

    Yes, but thats why America stuck her rod of freedom and independence up there buttox.

  26. sybull
    February 22nd, 2008 | 17:26

    Anyone Watch “Capricorn 1″

    Should be an easy 30 million to make ! Fake it !

    Any pointers on where to download adobe after effects ?

  27. terry
    February 22nd, 2008 | 17:55

    Actually, today’s native americans were not the first peoples who inhabited the land.

  28. Dorje
    February 22nd, 2008 | 19:31

    @28 Yes, your right Terry. I think it was the Olmecs. They were black weren’t they? Maybe it’s simply time for the return of the black american leader and , with a name like Obama he might be able to take the p!ss out of those Jihadis.

  29. mcainiac
    February 22nd, 2008 | 19:43

    NY Times is a left-wing liberal mouthpiece. They have good stories except for politics. You can’t trust what they write about politics. They will bring up a 20 year old rumor about McCain and not mention the Clinton scandals($100 million donated to their Library from a crook that Bill pardoned), or Barak Hussein Obama’s muslim heritage(What kind of muslim father would allow their son to be a christian?, What sect of islam were his fathers? Wahabi? Sunni? Shia?)


    Sorry for the rant. (Not offtopic since this article came from NY Times) :) :)

  30. Jeremy
    February 22nd, 2008 | 19:49


    Fool, the native Americans, nature of the word “native” were always in the US. The Europeans came over and battled the native Americans for the land. The Europeans won the battle because the native Americans were not an advanced race of people and had not yet invented guns.

    After the Europeans won the land and settled it, they allowed the defeated native Americans to establish small “reservations” of land through the country so they could get their lives back in order.

  31. Dorje
    February 22nd, 2008 | 20:09

    That’s mighy white of em lol

  32. Rap
    February 22nd, 2008 | 20:10

    2013 is the temporary discloser of 60 years UFO conspiracy..2017 is the official date to reveal the real UFO…

  33. Dorje
    February 22nd, 2008 | 20:13

    @30 “What kind of muslim father would allow their son to be a christian?”

    I dunno, maybe a father who loved their son?

    McCain is just more of the same.

  34. JesusTheCapenter
    February 22nd, 2008 | 21:29

    @5. Jesus approves of your message. For the non-believers, read and THINK about what he said before you make moron posts, you idiots.

  35. JesusTheCapenter
    February 22nd, 2008 | 21:29

    Correction to 35: moronic.

  36. Kevin
    February 22nd, 2008 | 21:55


    Of the two white candidates for president, I think I would have to vote for McCain. If I vote for a black candidate, it will be Obama. I would vote for Hillary if she wasn’t such a kunt when it comes to politics. Of the three possible candidates, she is the most partisan, divisive one of the group.

    McCain is so middle of the road, the conservative right hates him. Obama seems to pull people into the middle also, as he is getting lots of white voters to come out for him. But Hillary, she polarizes people like only she and Ted Kennedy can do. Her husband was an excellent “politician” too, so she learned from the best.

  37. l.y
    February 22nd, 2008 | 23:40

    the moon lives in my sock
    put the rover in my sock
    take some pics and we can split the money
    piece of piss

  38. Arocalex
    February 23rd, 2008 | 08:38

    @31 Jeremy

    Europeans did not invent the gun and these reservations were forced upon the Natives more then once.

    Add too that, the natives were more advanced then the europeans on several areas such as agriculture and sustained growth of their people.

    On the subject: I dont think you can fake it now a days, since there would be plenty of big telescopes looking at you to prove it.

  39. tucker
    February 23rd, 2008 | 10:59

    Keanu Reeves is going to lead his own team..

  40. Obamaniac
    February 24th, 2008 | 11:41

    @McCainiac: Dude like you totally dont know anything. Obama = change! CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE.. I think he might even give me change out of the government’s pockt!! So what if the “rich people”(guys/gals who make over $60k/yr) get taxed over 50%.. They work and I get to chill. Life is good in America. Land of Entitlement.

    Jorge Rodriguez

    And I get my driver’s license even though no green card!

  41. Anti5
    February 27th, 2008 | 10:11

    #5 You are an anus. The American empire will be shorter than you can possibly imagine. The 22nd Century will be Chinese or Indian unless the Neocons can figure out how to quietly eliminate 2 billion people.

  42. capsgram
    March 3rd, 2008 | 22:50

    for some strange reason white ppl, always say natives are from china but every time they date the Aztec and Maya or Inca ruins they date that ice bridge further back without any real evidence, and the ice bridge is just a theory as well, there really isn’t any factual based relics at all.

    Alot of this deals with law 1 law 2 or law 3, in Canada the borders or land which at the time that they where held would add up to be about 60 percent (which still is larger than U.S), and was most reason on why some bands where placed on curtain lands, now explanation os this inst needed if your learnt; these specific lands where held by the natives on treaty by the queen, but noy only by the queen but by other agreements in other nations at the time, now if your smart the actual definition of treaty doesn’t need to be explained as well as why bands where moved to specific regions of “claim”.

    First nations of Canada have one and only unique constitutions in the world and oddly enough, iot was the word of a woman( the Queen) that held her word, no man on this planet has ever been so loyal and stand firm/trustworthy to character other than her (a woman). (kinda makes you think, can men be honest and trustworthy?)

    thanks for the ears, back to the Google, lol..US wont hold the moon, they just bored what 2 trillion from china?.(the largest capitalistic country bums from the largest communist country…lol).. and did you see the interest accure?..lol…i bet they’ll be selling something pretty soon or be have a garage sale soon.

  43. capsgram
    March 3rd, 2008 | 22:54

    sorry about the poor spelling, damn spilled coffee on my keyboard and haven’t worked out the stickiness