The Google Lunar Xprize competition will end on a dull note as it was revealed on Tuesday that no team would meet the proposed March 31, 2018 launch deadline. As such, the grand prize will go unclaimed.
Google in 2007 sponsored a space competition organized by the X Prize Foundation. The first team to land a privately-funded rover on the Moon, travel 500 meters and transmit HD video and images of the milestone back to Earth would win the grand prize of $20 million. The second team to do so was promised a reward of $5 million.
On Tuesday, the X Prize Foundation said that after consulting with the five finalists over the past several months, they have concluded that no team would be ready to launch a spacecraft by the March 31, 2018.
It’s a disappointing end to a competition that debuted to much fanfare more than a decade ago. The foundation over the years had extended the deadline on multiple occasions and it was expected that a winner would have emerged by now.
A spokesperson for Google confirmed the news with CNBC, saying they do not have plans to extend the deadline again but that they were thrilled with the progress that has been made by the competitors over the last 10 years.
The X Prize Foundation said it is exploring ways to proceed from here. Possibilities include finding a new title sponsor to follow “in the footsteps of Google’s generosity” or continuing on as a non-cash competition.