Moon Shot, the web docuseries produced by J.J. Abrams, based on Google and XPRIZE’s attempt to involve more private entities in space exploration, is now streaming for free on YouTube and Google Play. Although fair warning, you will be inspired by teamwork, the power of science, and lots of beautifully crescendoing piano music.
The docuseries, which was directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel (Virunga), spans nine episodes, averaging around seven minutes apiece. Each installment offers a look at one of the entrant teams (specifically via the story of one team member), as they vie for the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE prize money. The rules for the competition state that whichever team makes it to the surface of the moon first, and has its rover travel more than 500 meters (and take pictures!), wins $25 million. The other $5 million will be split between the second place team, and other teams that manage to accomplish various subgoals.
Although the episodes are short, they’re beautifully shot, and provide personal looks into the distinctive lives of the competitors. The entrants come from countries around the world—including, among others, Japan, Canada, India, and Germany—which means that each episode isn’t only a look at a specific team’s strategy, but also its country’s culture. The episodes also weave philosophical themes throughout their narratives, which center around optimistic goals like achieving equality, unifying humanity, and pushing the boundaries of exploration.
The first episode, which focuses on Professor William “Red” Whittaker and his engineering students at Carnegie Mellon University, is posted above. Red, who’s 67 and treats his students and robots as if they were his kids, says that although he’s slowing down, “what [he’s] about is moving faster and faster and faster.”
What are your thoughts on private space exploration? Are you excited to explore the Moon more (remember it has caves!), or is it Mars or bust? Let us know in the comments section below!
Images: Google Lunar XPRIZE