Google Prematurely Ends Moon Mission Competition

/ 11 months ago


Google Ends Moon Mission

In March 2008, Google launched one of its strangest competitions to date. The mission mandate was simple, shoot for the moon.

In fairness, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t know about it, I didn’t either. Google, however, ran the 10-year competition with rather a simple premise. You must get a craft to the moon and once there, it must move 500m and transmit images and data back to Earth. Ok, maybe not so simple. Maybe simpler than constructing the Saturn 5 Lego set though.

Competition Ends Early

With the 10-years set to expire this March, Google has decided to end the competition. The reasoning for this is that none of the 5 major teams participating are anywhere close to achieving the goal.

Had they been successful, a $20m prize was up for grabs.


How close were they?

The short answer is, not very close at all. Of all the entries, there were 5 teams who were participating, but unfortunately, none of them were in a position to make an attempt.

Google has originally anticipated that the competition could have been won as early as 2012 and as such, there was a level of disappointment when even in 2018, no one had come close. This wasn’t aimed at the teams, but the fact that it has proven so difficult to achieve.

The closest a team got to launching was when teams from India and Japan combined with a launch planned earlier this month. Unfortunately, however, that did not work out.

One of these teams ‘Moon Express’ has however remained optimistic. In a report via Sky News, the team has said: “The landscape for commercial lunar activity and opportunity couldn’t be more positive.” They went on to praise the competition itself as a “bold move” by Google.

What will happen now?

Despite Google ending the competition, many of the teams have still pledged to continue.

It does, however, highlight the difficulty we have in reaching the moon. This is particularly highlighted given that next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the first man walking on the moon.

What do you think? Are you surprised that a team didn’t meet the challenge? – Let us know in the comments!

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