December 12, 2007 Odyssey Moon has become the first team to complete registration for the Google Lunar X PRIZE, unveiling its plans for a history making private robotic mission to reach the surface of the Moon with a small robotic lander designed to deliver scientific, exploration and commercial payloads.
The entry forms part of a competition collaboration between the X PRIZE Foundation and Internet giant Google launched in September this year. The aim is to land a privately funded robotic rover capable of completing several mission objectives - including roaming the lunar surface for at least 500 meters (over 1600 feet) and sending video, images and data back to the Earth - on the Moon by 2012 with teams competing for a US$30 million prize purse.
The Odyssey Moon team is a private commercial lunar enterprise headquartered in the Isle of Man and is the brainchild of Dr. Robert (Bob) Richards, a founder of the International Space University. Dr Richards was pleased the competition was announced as it fitted in nicely with the plans of his organization. “We have a long term vision and now with the Google Lunar X PRIZE we have a short term goal: Odyssey Moon is setting its eyes on the prize,” he said.
Odyssey Moon has coined the term “Moon 2.0”, which it believes represents the second era of lunar exploration, which began with the announcement of the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition. The team sees the Moon as "a stepping stone to the rest of the solar system and a source of solutions to some of the most pressing environmental problems that we face on Earth – energy independence and climate change.” It is anticipated that Moon 2.0 will begin with robotic explorers that will deliver new knowledge about the Moon and the Earth and be followed by people with the goal of permanently integrating the Moon into Earth’s economic and social spheres, creating a two-world system for human growth and prosperity.
The team comprises international talent with tech savvy and financial depth to work toward the goal of long term responsible development of the Moon. Richards said that the company’s goal is to lower the price of getting to the Moon by an order of magnitude and in doing so help catalyze a “MOONRUSH” to Earth’s sister world, which he describes as an eighth continent rich in energy and resources floating just offshore. Odyssey Moon will be working in collaboration with Canadian robotics contractor MDA and The Planetary Society, the world's largest space interest group. The team is also open to international collaboration at several levels and welcomes discussion with others who may wish to join them in their quest for the Google Lunar X PRIZE.
X PRIZE Chairman and CEO Dr. Peter Diamandis said he congratulates Odyssey Moon for being the first team to complete the registration process and that he is thrilled at the response to the $30M Google Lunar X PRIZE. No doubt the official registration of the first team will spur on others to join the space race and attempt to claim the $30 million.
Gizmag will bring updates on new teams as they are announced.