Fly me to the moon – Since humanity took its first steps on the moon in 1969, only 12 men have journeyed there. Now Google wants innovators from across the world to send a robot back to the lunar surface. Apollo 15 astronaut James Irwin, pictured, with the first lunar rover in 1971.
Team: Astrobotic, U.S. – Astrobotic hopes to send its robot, Red Rover, pictured, to the moon on a mission to explore one of more than 200 pits discovered under the lunar surface. The team believes that a large underground cave network might offer a more cost-effective location for human settlement in the future.
Team: Moon Express, U.S. – The Moon Express team hopes to take advantage of the moon's environment by sending a "hopper" there. "When you are on the moon you have one sixth gravity and there's no air resistance so we kind of use those to our advantage," said the company's public outreach liaison, Brad Kohlenberg.
Team: Part Time Scientists, Germany – Germany-based team "Part Time Scientists" is building a rover lovingly nicknamed "Asimov" after sci-fi author Isaac Asimov. Brought together by a passion for all things space-related, the members come from a variety of vocations and have been teaching themselves how to build their robot from open-source schematics online. Team co-founder Michael Mussler explained their "Foundation" mission to CNN: "We want to take people with us. "Foundation" means to do something, build a technology that can be used in the future by everyone. Companies go, people can go, citizen scientists can go to space."
Team: Part Time Scientists, Germany – The Part Time Scientists have reached out to several companies who have helped them financially and with components for the robot. Additionally they have received some technical advice from the German Aerospace Agency, DLR. "I don't say we are bound by this competition. If we are not able to do this for the competition and other teams don't do it, we'll work further. We will do it. How long it takes? We will see," said Mussler.
Team: Hakuto, Japan – Meaning "White Rabbit" in Japanese, the Hakuto team is led by Takeshi Hakamada, who says his team has already tested several prototypes in partnership with Tohoku University. Hakamada is intensely confident of his team's ability to get to the moon and said two rovers have been designed for cave exploration.