Google has been hosting the Lunar XPrize for a number of years putting up a significant amount of money as an award for any company that is able to land a rover on the surface of the moon. The prize a successful team will get for landing on the surface of the moon is $30 million. Two competing teams announced this week that they would team up in their effort to win.
The only Japanese team competing in the Lunar XPrize contest, Hakuto, will team up with Astrobotic to attempt to land a pair of rovers on the surface of the moon. Astrobotic is an American team based in Pittsburgh. Astrobotic plans to launch its XPrize mission using a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifting off from Cape Canaveral in the second half of 2016.
Astrobotic will have a Griffin lander that will be used to reach the surface of the moon. When the lander touches down, Hakuto’s Moonraker and Tetris rovers will be released along with the Astrobotic Andy rover.
The Andy rover was developed by Carnegie Mellon University. The goal is for the rover to travel 500 meters on the moon’s surface and send back high definition video and photos from the moon’s surface. Both of these teams won money last month in the competition with Hakuto grabbing $500,000 for advancements in mobility category. Astrobotic won $1.75 million in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University for innovations in landing, mobility, and imaging areas.