On Tuesday, Google ended their ambitious $30m contest for a private company to shoot a robot to the moon after none of the finalist teams felt they could meet the March 31 deadline.
Titled the Google Lunar XPrize, the competition was a follow-up to the Ansari X prize, a $10m contest won by SpaceShipOne in 2004 for being the first non-government vehicle to make it to space.
What did they have to do for GLXP?
To win top honors, one of the 5 teams would’ve had to successfully build and land a spacecraft on the moon, travel at least 500 meters, then transmit video and images in HD back to Earth.
While officials reportedly had high hopes for a few teams in the competition, GLXP’s founders ultimately called it off, explaining that, “due to the difficulties of fundraising, technical and regulatory challenges, the grand prize … will go unclaimed.”
AKA, space travel is really friggin hard
The trials and tribs of space travel highlight the incredible uphill climb facing even the most well-funded private space programs in the world.
Even giants like SpaceX and Boeing have recently experienced ‘major delays’, battling technical issues and a grueling regulatory process as they try to help NASA fly its astronauts to space.
Meanwhile, private spaceflight companies like Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and other smaller contenders continue to come out of the woodwork — each hoping to push the boundaries of humankind.