In an attempt “to incentivize space entrepreneurs to create a new era of affordable access to the Moon and beyond,” Google has teamed up with XPRIZE to create a competition with a cash reward that would make Smaug blush: $30,000,000. And now, through a series of nine documentary short films entitled Moon Shot, J.J. Abrams and Academy Award-nominated director Orlando von Einsiedel will tell some the biggest stories and show some of the biggest moments from the race to the lunar surface.
The goal of the competition, dubbed Google Lunar XPRIZE, is to land a privately funded rover on the Moon, have it travel 500 meters, and then transmit high-definition images and video back to Earth. The first team to do so will be awarded $20 million, the second team $5 million, and the rest will be split amongst teams that achieve various additional tasks, such as capturing images of the remains of the Apollo program on the Moon’s surface. Participants have until the end of 2017 to complete the mission, although out of the 16 remaining teams, only two have secured verified launch contracts with aerospace companies.
The nine episode documentary series will be available through Google Play and YouTube (starting on March 15 and March 17 respectively), and will “follow a selection of the teams currently racing to complete their missions… [exploring] the lives of their charismatic, quirky members, the sacrifices they have made to get to where they are today, and crucially, what drives them on this incredible journey.”
Based on the above trailer, Moon Shot looks like it’ll be visually stunning—and downright inspiring—and is most definitely in good hands with von Einsiedel, who directed the Academy Award-nominated documentary Virunga.
“It’s not just really about going to the Moon,” one of the interviewees says in the trailer. “Going to the Moon is symbolic. It is about showing what is possible.” Sounds like it’ll be fun to watch.
What do you think about the Google Lunar XPRIZE? Are you hoping this endeavor will inspire people to explore space, or maybe even bring back the popularity of freeze-dried Neapolitan ice cream, which was actually pretty tasty? Let us know in the comments section below!
Images: Google Lunar XPRIZE