Moon Shot is a series of nine short documentaries that will follow the teams that are currently working to land a robot on the moon next year. Why the sudden uptick in robotic lunar missions? Google is offering the $30 million Lunar XPRIZE to the teams who manage land a privately funded rover on the moon, and drive it 500 meters while sending high definition video back to Earth. The documentaries were created by the Oscar-nominated director of Virunga, Orlando von Einsiedel, and executive produced by a little-known indie auteur named J.J. Abrams. Check out the series trailer below!
“I have a small budget. I’m just trying to reach the Moon.”
Created in 2007, the mission of The Google Lunar XPRIZE was created n 2007 to “incentivize space entrepreneurs to create a new era of affordable access to the Moon and beyond.” The full prize is $30 million, with $20 million going to the first team to complete the mission and $5 million to the second place team. In order to be eligible, teams have to privately fund 90% of their costs, they have to have launch contracts in place by the end of this year, and they have to complete the mission by the end of 2017.
Now, if you noticed that 90% funding bit, there’s a fascinating reason for that to be a requirement. The Chairman and CEO of XPRIZE, Peter Diamandis, wants the prize to kickstart thinking about the moon as a commercial resource as well as the romantic inspiration it’s been to thousands of stargazers. Rather than focusing on NASA and other government agencies, the Google XPRIZE teams want people to think of lunar exploration as an achievable goal for anyone with the ingenuity and work ethic. Or, as the XPRIZE site puts it:
The Moon is a treasure chest of rare metals and other beneficial materials that can be used here on Earth. A successful Google Lunar XPRIZE would result in cost-effective and reliable access to the Moon, allowing for the development of new methods of discovering and using space resources, and in the long-term, helping to expand human civilization into space.
You can learn more about the competition here. In the meantime, watch the series trailer below, and get inspired:
The series will be released digitally on March 15th!