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Friday, November 16, 2012

Lurio: Lunar X Prize Value to Decrease?

The Chinese are planning to send a lunar probe to the surface on the Moon in 2013 in the nation's first attempt to land on the surface with a robotic rover, and if successful, there would be instant implications for the contestants of the Google Lunar X Prize (GLXP).
Charles A. Lurio, an award winning NewSpace journalist, notes in his latest issue of The Lurio Report, "Years ago I noted here that by the rules of the GLXP, the value of the Grand Prize would decrease by $5 million, to $15 million (not including bonuses for achieving certain objectives)" if the Chang'e-3 Lunar lander/rover mission successfully occurs in 2013 or [W]“henever a government-funded mission successfully explores the lunar surface.”
 Lurio (and Parabolic Arc's editor Doug Mesier) suggest it "seems unlikely that any GLXP competitor can beat the Chinese project. The rules did warn that a government mission - from somewhere - was 'projected for 2013'  Realistically, the competitors were always expected to have to spend more than the Grand Prize amount to win it, but its reduction will only make it more difficult for all but the best funded efforts to stay in the competition."

The premise to decreasing the the value of the Google Lunar X-Prize is that the Chinese Chang'e-3 properly lands of the surface of the moon and the rover operationally performs according to design. Only then would the prize money incentives be reduced to international commercial contenders seeking to land a rover on the moon.
IF the Chang'e 3 does not, by chance, land safely in the nation's first attempt next year, or even if it does, Chang'e 4 will launch for the lunar surface again in 2015.  China has signed-up one Google Lunar-X Prize contender for a commercial boost to the moon in 2014.

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