These are the moonbots that are racing for outer space, who will win $20 million?
The Google Lunar X Prize is a contest that offers $20 million to the first private enterprise to “safely land a robot on the surface of the Moon, travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send images and data back to the Earth”, before the end of 2012. Quoting New Scientist:
Like the Ansari X Prize for sending a human into space, the lunar contest is meant to stimulate commercial space exploration.
The Google Lunar X Prize teams span more than 12 countries on three continents. They’re led by students, engineers, CEOs and entrepreneurs. Each has different strategies for flying to the moon, driving around once they get there and paying for it all.
The robots trying to get to the moon range includes traditional rovers on wheels, a less traditional rover in wheels on spider-legs, untraditional hopping robots and an anti-traditional surface-skidding rocket-robot that will set of fireworks in celebration of the Year of the Dragon when it lands.
What, no giant, bipedal, metal-claw handed, death-ray shooting robots? One of those would totally win!
New Scientist has a gallery of the moonbots.