A competition is giving the opportunity to five companies to launch a new industry: transportation to the moon. But there is a risk of their ideas never materializing. (Image via XPRIZE)


Since 2007, Google has been sponsoring the Lunar XPRIZE competition with a total of thirty million dollars invested in the event. However, the rules of the competition changed a bit as of March 31st of this year. Not only Google won’t be sponsoring the event any longer, but the prize of the competition will now be non-monetary. Therefore, XPRIZE will need to find a new primary sponsor for the event to continue. The non-profit organization will spend the coming months redefining the requirements for companies interested in participating in the competition.


Generally, every XPRIZE competition has a theme. And, as the name of this one indicates, the participating teams were focused on the moon; specifically, developing long-term transportation businesses to the moon. Five teams made it to the final round and landed launch contracts, but without a sponsor, it might be hard for them to materialize their visions. Although grateful for the support Google has provided thus far, Peter H. Diamandis (founder of XPRIZE) also recognizes the grit of the participating teams when it came to raising money. After all, they managed to raise ten times the funds invested by Google, through various channels. In Diamandis’ quest to continue the competition, he is supported by a few participants of the LUNAR competition who don’t seem to mind the nature of the prize they would receive at the end.


Bob Richards, the founder of the MOON Express, explained that he is proud to be part of the event and intend to win but also view the experience as a chance to be a pioneer in the new and lucrative industry of lunar transportation. His enthusiasm is confirmed by the CEO of iSpace, Takeshi Hakamada who noticed how the competition served to introduce the space race to the public and inspired certain companies to get involved in space. Hakamada believes that continuing the competition will heighten people’s interest in space, and he is not the only one. Rahul Narayan, the CEO of TeamIndus, also believes that the growing interest will contribute to the fast develop the industry of lunar transportation. Narayan can already see government agencies investing in the race as well; thus, increasing the chances of more than one winning team.


As far as the main sponsor is concerned, the company that will sign up for it will have the responsibility of establishing multiple financing packages for the competing teams. In exchange, the sponsor will receive full advertisement throughout the competition, and in case of success, plastered on the moon.


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