Indian start-up eyes Moon Rover mission in the Google Lunar XPrize competition
India’s small startup Team Indus, founded by IIT Delhi students headed by Rahul Narayan has won the major chunk of Google Lunar XPrize, a global competition aiming to land robotic spacecraft on the surface of Moon by December 31, 2016. Competing against other established groups who have vast experience in the field of robotics and space exploration, the India’s team won $1 million for the lander category, which apparently is the most complex piece of the rover destined for Moon. The Bangalore-based team has also been short-listed for imaging system and the prize was handed to Narayan and his team at an event in the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.
The competition is still on and the ultimate winner will receive the maximum amount to go ahead with the mission. The extension to the competition deadline will make it a bit easier for teams to sort out their options to make the final additions to their rovers. Team Indus has its work cut out as they have to amass around #35 million to make the rover and for this they would require help from ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization).
Ultimately the competition will be won by one team that will get the coveted chance to put their rover on the surface of Moon. But that doesn’t mean the end of the road for other teams as they will have the opportunity to commercialize their space technology and use it for future missions or missions of their native countries.