A nine-part documentary series about teams competing for a $30 million purse is coming to the Internet this month. “Moon Shot,” produced by J.J. Abrams and directed by Academy Award nominee Orlando von Einsiedel, follows the teams racing to put a robot on the moon by Dec. 31, 2017.
According to the rules of the competition, the winning team must launch and land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon. The robot must be able to travel 1,650 feet and be capable of sending hi-res images and videos back to Earth. The winning team will win $20 million, and the second-place team will take home $5 million. Bonuses will be awarded to the teams who accomplish other scientific feats while on the moon, such as detecting ice or surviving a lunar night.
Google is well-known for encouraging moon shot ideas — those goals that strive for greatness while pushing the limits. XPRIZE describes the program this way: “The Google Lunar XPRIZE incentivizes space entrepreneurs to create a new era of affordable access to the moon and beyond.”
The docu-series will take a personal look at the lives, struggles and victories of these space entrepreneurs.
The Google Lunar XPRIZE competition began in 2007. In the beginning, 29 teams were in the running, but only 16 remain. The teams hail from all over the world. Google describes the diverse group: “Whatever their history, background, location, education or gender, a common thread unites these innovators and adventurers; a passion for space exploration, a dedication to a purpose greater than themselves, the perseverance to see it through, and the ability to dream big — really big.”
To stay in the running, the teams have to confirm their launch plans by Dec. 31, 2016. So far, two teams, Moon Express from the United States and and Israel's SpaceIL, have secured contracts with commercial spaceflight companies that will transport their robots to the moon. According to Space.com, "Moon Express will fly aboard Rocket Lab USA's Electron vehicle, while SpaceIL signed a deal to use SpaceX's Falcon 9 launcher."
To learn more about the progress of these innovative teams, you can watch “Moon Shot” on Google Play on March 15 or on YouTube on March 17.