BENGALURU: TeamIndus, which captured the attention of the country with their ambitious plan to land a rover on the Moon to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE, will be able to continue with their mission even though the internet giant will no longer be a sponsor of the prize. However, the XPRIZE foundation on Thursday said that it was now looking to relaunch the competition by finding a new sponsor.
"Effective today, the Lunar XPRIZE will operate as a non-cash competition. Over the next few months, XPRIZE will define new parameters for companies to compete in the prize," a statement from the foundation said.According to Peter H Diamandis, founder and executive chairman, "While that competition is now over, there are at least five teams with launch contracts that hope to land on the lunar surface in the next two years. Because of this tremendous progress, and near-term potential, XPRIZE is now looking for our next visionary title sponsor who wants to put their logo on these teams and on the lunar surface."
The decision to go ahead with the competition in a new avatar without a cash prize was welcomed by teams as well. "The Google Lunar XPRIZE served as an excellent early catalyst to get new people, partners and money involved," said Rahul Narayan, CEO and founder of TeamIndus. "With the renewed interest in beyond Earth-orbit exploration by multiple large government space agencies, a new Lunar XPRIZE will be a perfectly timed platform with the chances of multiple successful launches being much higher than before," he said in a statement.