Five teams are still in the running for being the first private company to launch a spacecraft destined for the moon by the end of 2017. These teams have verified launch contracts and are moving forward to the final phase of the competition.

The $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE is an unprecedented competition to challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. To win the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a privately funded team must successfully place a robot on the Moon’s surface that explores at least 500 meters and transmits high-definition video and images back to Earth.

SpaceIL (Israel), Moon Express (USA), Synergy Moon (International), TeamIndus (India) and HAKUTO (Japan) are all moving forward to the final phase of the competition.

On top of the big prize, a $1 million Diversity Prize will be split among 16 Google Lunar XPRIZE teams. “XPRIZE and Google have been awestruck by the educational outreach activities conducted by all of the competing teams and have decided to split the $1 million Diversity Prize across all 16 teams to recognize each of their unique approaches and initiatives over the years,” said Chanda Gonzales-Mowrer, senior director, Google Lunar XPRIZE.

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