Google recently launched the Lunar XPrize, offering a $20 million prize to a team that can send a robot to the moon and send pictures back to Earth. While there have been six NASA missions that landed men on the moon, there’s never been a private company or individual to do so. If all goes to plan, this will be the first.
Contestants had until Dec. 31, 2016 to enter their robot plans, and only five teams have made it into the finals. Now, these teams must initiate plans for launch before Dec. 31, 2017 in order to get a shot at the $20 million grand prize. That’s less that a year away!
Here’s a look at the five finalist’s ships:
This bot will be carried on a rocket to the moon, then travel 500 meters across the lunar surface to transmit video, images and other data back to Earth.
Cuteness alert: This 11-pound, solar-powered rover will be launched on a rocket from the Indian space agency later this year, then get deployed near the lunar surface.
This Israeli team was the first to secure a spot in the contest. And with good reason. It’s awesome. Instead of rolling like a rover, this oven-sized spacecraft will jump using thrusters to move in giant leaps across the moon’s surface.
This tiny rover is one of the most traditional looking robots of the bunch. It has a carbon fiber body that can withstand the extreme temperature changes of the lunar surface, and will also be able to take 360-degree images.
Not much is know about this lander, but they plan to launch in New Zealand.