The Google Lunar XPRIZE finalists now have $4.75 million more to shoot for with the moon missions they’re planning, and more time to shoot for the moon as well.
The competition was set up a decade ago to encourage commercial moon exploration, with Google donating the prize money and the nonprofit XPRIZE organization handling the logistics.
A grand prize of $20 million was set aside to the first privately funded team to land a probe on the moon, get it to move at least 500 meters (yards) on the surface, and have it send back high-definition video and images. The second team to accomplish the feat could win $5 million.
The teams were facing a launch deadline of Dec, 31, 2017 – and although all five teams have been saying they could make that deadline, it was shaping up to be a close thing.
Today XPRIZE said the deadline has been reworked, giving teams until March 31, 2018, to complete their missions. The 2017 launch deadline no longer applies, XPRIZE spokesman Eric Desatnik told GeekWire via email.