How does the Google Lunar X PRIZE relate to lunar missions being planned by NASA and other government space agencies?
NASA, the European Space Agency, and other space agencies around the world stand as the most obvious near term beneficiaries of the Google Lunar X PRIZE. It is expected that the advancements made by the teams competing for the Google Lunar X PRIZE will allow NASA and other space agencies to save money and expand the capabilities of its future robotic and human missions to the Moon. Indeed, this has already begun to happen—ahead of schedule—with NASA’s Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data program, through which NASA will purchase $30 million worth of data from commercial lunar missions. Overall, we view the Google Lunar X PRIZE and the efforts of our teams as complementary to, rather than competitive with, government space agencies. We believe the world benefits when the unique strengths of both government-led and industry-led programs are both being brought to bear on the challenging yet rewarding field of space exploration.