First competitor announced for Google's moon race

December 6, 2007 8:58:37 PM PST
A private company announced today it's going after the lion's share of a $30 million dollar prize for the teams who put a rover on the moon.

It is widely being called the space race for a new generation.

"Now there's a new moon race, a race to bring earth's offshore island, the moon into the sphere of human economic activity," said Gregg Maryniak from the X Prize Foundation.

A company called odyssey moon headquartered in Britain's Isle of Man is the first team to announce it will compete for a piece of $30 million dollars in Google sponsored prize money.

"We've been planning a series of missions to the moon so the X-Prize the Google Lunar X Prize was perfect timing for us. It was a catalyst for us so it brought us out, we've unveiled plans and we're in the race, the race is on," said Odyssey Moon Founder and CEO Robert Richards.

Odyssey Moon won't reveal how much it will cost to put a robotic rover on the moon but says it will far exceed the Google Lunar X Prize purse.

The real financial incentives for private robotic missions is long-term research and development.

Odyssey Moon and others, such as NASA believe the moon offers untapped resources.

One example: The potential for harnessing solar power.

"That is a cheap source of energy, it's freely available and it really does alleviate a lot of our problems on earth," said Odyssey Mon chairman Ramin Khadem, Ph.D.

Other viable entrepreneurs have already expressed an interest in joining the race. X prize backers are confident someone will succeed and claim the first place prize of $20 million dollars in the next five years.

"For the first time ever a small group with the computing resources and private wealth can do what really only the soviet union and united states government have done, land on the surface of the moon," said X Prize Foundation CEO Dr. Peter Diamandis.

The 21st century race is dubbed moon 2.0.

"The young people of today are going to relive what some of us experienced back in the Apollo days, the excitement of going to another world," said Richards.