Lunar X Prize Competition conducted by Google has quietly come to an end, as no finalists succeeded in launching their missions to the moon before the deadline of March 31, 2018. Even though two months are remaining to the completion of the deadline, it has been learned that no team is ready for launch, and as a result, the whopping prize money of $30 million will go unclaimed.
"Today, we announce that after consulting our teams over the last few months, that there will not be a launch by March 31st, 2018, and our grand prize will go unclaimed. We are exploring a number of ways to proceed, to continue to support our teams," tweeted Google Lunar X Prize on its Twitter page.
This competition started with 25 teams, and later, Google selected five finalists for the ultimate race; Team Indus (India), Spaceil (Israel), Hakuto (Japan), Moon Express (USA) and Synergy Moon (International Team).
India's Bangalore-based Team Indus failed to raise funds in time to pay for ISRO as of December 2017 thus bringing an end a private space agency's dream to reach the moon.
The primary goal of Lunar X Prize challenge is to place a rover on the Moon's surface and take photos by a privately funded team. Earlier, the deadline for the launch was December 2017, and later, it was extended to March 2018. As no team was ready for a launch even before the extended deadline, Google has finally decided to end the competition.
According to a statement issued by Google, it has been learned that difficulties in fundraising, technical and regulatory challenges have negatively impacted the teams to conduct the launch before the deadline.
The Lunar X Prize competition was launched in 2007, and it was a follow up to the first X Prize competition, for the first privately-financed spacecraft to make it to space. The Spaceship one vehicle designed by Burt Rutan and financed by Paul G Allen won that competition.
Google said that the competition was a success even though they were little disappointed for not having a winner.