A Google-sponsored competition promising to richly reward the first private space company to land on the moon has come to an end with no one winning the prize.
Announced to considerable fanfare in 2007, the Google Lunar X-Prize would have awarded a whopping $20 million dollars to whichever group was first to accomplish the feat and another $10 million for various other achievements.
Pulling off such a mission, however, proved to be easier said than done and the company was forced to continually extend the deadline after the initial goal of 2012 had passed without a winner.
That’s not to say that no one was trying as several different groups formed with the intention of taking home the $20 million and five candidates were seen as particularly viable by Google.
Yet when they touched base with the groups over the last few months, the company learned that, once again, none of them were going to be able to launch by the latest deadline set for the end of March.
As such, Google has opted to pull the plug on the project and pocket the prize money for themselves with the possibility of launching some other contest in the future.
Although the news is no doubt disheartening for the groups who tried and failed to mount a private mission to the moon, most indicated that the prize was merely a ‘bonus’ in addition to the advancements reaped via the research and development towards the goal.
Whether investors who go on board with the idea back in 2007 and are now left with no shot at a piece of the prize feel the same way may be a different story.
Perhaps they should have put their money into Google instead, since that turned out to be a safer bet than sending a craft to the moon.