The Google Lunar XPrize competition comes to an end without a victor

Olive Hawkins
January 24, 2018

That means none of the five final teams will get the $20 million grand prize, or the additional $10 million in other prizes. None of the teams are in a position to achieve the mission by the deadline. That deadline has been extended four times since then, to the end of 2015, then the end of 2016, and then to the end of 2017.

Despite the continued deadline extensions, this announcement to end the competition does come as a bit of a surprise considering the finalist teams were all moving closer to the goal, albeit slower than anyone had hoped.

Organizers of an global lunar probe contest say the competition is likely to end in March without a victor, as none of the participating teams will be able to meet the deadline. After a series of delays, the deadline to win the $30 million prize by being the first private firm to put a rover on the moon was pushed back to the end of March 2018.

The five teams that took part in this latest contest might still find their way to the moon.

Several dozen teams threw their hats into the ring over the course of the decade-long GLXP competition, but that pool was finally whittled down to five finalists: Florida-based Moon Express, Japan's Team Hakuto, SpaceIL from Israel, India's Team Indus and worldwide outfit Synergy Moon.

Even with the competition ending, all of the teams have made many advancements designing and building their spacecraft with little to no government funding or assistance. X Prize has awarded a total of more than $6 million to various teams for reaching milestones on the way to launching to the moon.

The end of the competition is a letdown and a sign of the difficulties of commercial space travel, despite the advancements of companies such as.

Spaceflight Insider contacted the XPRIZE Foundation and they replied with the following statement from Peter H. Diamandis, Founder & Executive Chairman, XPRIZE & Marcus Shingles, Chief Executive Officer, XPRIZE. "Though the prize is coming to an end, we continue to hold a deep admiration for all Google Lunar XPrize teams, and we will be rooting for them as they continue their pursuit of the moon and beyond". "This literal "moonshot" is hard, and while we did expect a victor by now, due to the difficulties of fundraising, technical and regulatory challenges, the grand prize of the $30 [million] Google Lunar XPrize will go unclaimed". Despite the previous deadline extension and the fact that these teams may be ready to launch next year, Google has announced that there will be no extension to the March 31st deadline.

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"As a result of this competition, we have sparked the conversation and changed expectations with regard to who can land on the moon".

XPRIZE says that it is exploring a number of ways to proceed from here.

"If every XPrize competition we launch has a victor, we are not being audacious enough, and we will continue to launch competitions that are literal or figurative moonshots, pushing the boundaries of what's possible".

Success, for the ventures in the competition, was reaching the moon's surface - winning the prize would have been just a bonus.

To win the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE, a privately funded team must successfully place a robot on the Moon's surface that explores at least 500 metres and transmits high-definition video and images back to Earth.

However, it seems like none of the competitors can land a rover on the moon by March 31.

This isn't the end of "audacious" competitions for XPRIZE.

Lloyd Campbell's first interest in space began when he was a very young boy in the 1960s with NASA's Gemini and Apollo programs.

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