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XPRIZE resurrects commercial moon race

Moon Express lander
Moon Express’ MX-1E settles onto the lunar surface. (Moon Express Illustration)

Less than a week after the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize officially expired, its organizers say they’re relaunching it as a non-cash competition to put a privately funded lander on the moon.

They’re also looking for a new sponsor to lend its name, and a fresh promise of pecuniary rewards, to what’s currently known as the Lunar XPRIZE.

XPRIZE’s founder and executive chairman Peter Diamandis said he was “extraordinarily grateful to Google” for funding the original competition between September 2007 and March 31, 2018.

“While that competition is now over, there are at least five teams with launch contracts that hope to land on the lunar surface in the next two years,” he said today in a news release. “Because of this tremendous progress, and near-term potential, XPRIZE is now looking for our next visionary title sponsor who wants to put their logo on these teams and on the lunar surface.”

The new sponsor would be responsible for putting up one or more contingent purses for the competition’s winners, XPRIZE said. In the meantime, XPRIZE will define new parameters for companies to compete for the prize.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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