Lunar probe race to end without victor

Source XPrize

The XPRIZE authorities, who hosted the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition for global startups, with an aim to set foot on the moon, have made a decision to call it off without any victor. The official confirmation came through an update on XPrize's official website. The X Prize Foundation did award more than $6 million throughout the competition for achieving certain milestones or objectives.

After almost a decade of work gone into prepping to go to the moon, with less than two months left to the deadline, no team is close to being ready to launch.

"Even though we are disappointed that we do not have a victor at this time, we are proud of the impact that the Google Lunar X Prize has achieved to date", the X Prize statement said.

"TeamIndus has been in talks with the Google Lunar XPrize over the past few weeks and had expressed its inability to meet the 31st March 2018 deadline to complete 500 meter traversal on the moon", TeamIndus said in a statement Wednesday.

Peter H. Diamandis, founder & executive chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation, and Marcus Shingles, the foundation's CEO, wrote that due to trouble fundraising and technical and regulatory hurdles, the final prize money will go unclaimed. The competition has been declared over, and the prize goes unclaimed. The company also thanked Google for its foresight and courage of supporting and catalyzing the commercial space industry through the competition.

That team is run by Japanese startup ispace, which raised $90 million in December for its own lunar mission plans, but declined to comment at the time about whether it thought its rover would launch in time to win the prize.

Google launched the Lunar X Prize in 2007, offering $20 million to the first privately-funded team to put a working rover on the moon's surface.The first deadline was set for 2012 but it has been pushed back four times, with the very last deadline set for March 31, 2018. One of the ways might be finding a new title sponsor or even continuing the quest to reach the moon as a non-cash competition. The foundation over the years had extended the deadline on multiple occasions and it was expected that a victor would have emerged by now.

Source NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center  Arizona State University
Source NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Arizona State University

The X Prize Foundation statement didn't indicate if it sought from Google another extension of the competition.

But private space travel could potentially enable different projects, like moon-based tourism or mining. Many teams say they will still pursue their missions.

When the competition was first announced, the deadline for launching was the end of 2014.

The XPrize takes its inspiration from the Orteig Prize, which in 1919 challenged anyone in the world to try to complete the first non-stop flight between Paris and NY.

Moon Express remained until the end, and the Florida-based firm is still dreaming big.

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

"We were doing a lunar program before the XPRIZE, and we're going to continue after", Randa Milliron told the Tribune-Review on Tuesday. Now, over a half decade removed from the contest's original end date, the company is finally throwing in the towel and declaring that there is no victor.

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