The Google Lunar XPrize has awarded a $1 million Milestone Prize to Astrobotic Technology for achieving technical goals set for its lunar landing system. It is the third Milestone Prize awarded to the Astrobotic and Carnegie Mellon University team that is preparing to land its robot on the moon.
Nine Milestone Prizes in three categories have been awarded to five teams that are competing for the Google Lunar XPrize, which will award $20 million or more to teams that can complete a robotic mission to the moon by the end of 2016.
Astrobotic/CMU is the only team to achieve Milestone prizes in each category. Last month, Carnegie Mellon was awarded $500,000 for meeting technical goals for its Andy rover and Astrobotic received $250,000 for its imaging technology. The Milestone prize money will be deducted from any eventual winnings the team might receive for the Google Lunar XPrize itself.
The other Milestone winners announced Jan. 26 were Moon Express, another U.S. team that won prizes in the lander and imaging categories; Part-Time Scientists, a German team that won in the imaging and mobility (rover) categories; Hakuto, a Japanese team that won in the mobility category; and Team Indus from India, which won in the landing category.
Participation in the Milestone Prizes was voluntary and did involve all 18 teams currently competing for the Google Lunar XPrize.