Barcelona Moon, a new Spanish team led by entrepreneur Xavier Claramunt, has officially announced its entry into the ongoing $US30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE. To win the Grand Prize, a team must soft land a privately-funded spacecraft on the moon, send a rover at least 500 meters out onto the moon's surface, and transmit a specific set of video, images and data back to Earth. The as-yet-unnamed Spanish rover, appropriately enough, looks rather like a sombrero.
Xavier Claramunt is an entrepreneur whose Galactic Suite Design company is the driving force behind the proposed Galactic Suite Spaceresort. His team consists mainly of researchers from Spain's Centre for Aerospace Technology and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) - Barcelona Tech. Students from UPC are also involved in one of the competing teams, the open-source FREDNET team.
"The real goal of our team is to promote, in accordance with the reality of the sector, a widening involvement of private initiative in the development of space technology and industry, including sectors such as exploration and tourism, developing steps and synergies for longer term plans for an appropriate exploitation of space" said Claramunt.
The X Prize Foundation's Nicole Jordan told us that there are now 21 teams taking part in the competition. The $20 million Grand Prize is up for grabs until December 31st, 2012, After that, the Grand Prize will drop to $15 million and second will get $5 million. The final deadline is December 31, 2014.
More info at the Google Lunar X-Prize site.