Going to the Moon is officially hip again, thanks in no small part to Google, which is offering $20 million to the first private company that can land on our nearest neighbor, roll around a bit, and beam images back to Earth. The latest contender for that sweet sweet X-Prize money is a Japanese company, which has just obtained a launch vehicle for the shiny metal cheese grater rover it plans to send to the Moon late next year. On Tuesday, Google Lunar X-Prize contestant Team HAKUTO, a product of the Japanese startup ispace Inc, announced it’ll be partnering with the India-based Team Indus to get its lunar rover to the Moon. Team Indus already has a contract to launch its own rover, aboard a rocket developed by the Indian Space Research Organization, in December 2017. For Team HAKUTO, whose rideshare with US-based team Astrobiotic recently fell through, the partnership comes just in the nick of time—the window to secure a launch vehicle to compete for the X-Prize closes at the end of the year. Also known as “NASCAR on the Moon,” Google’s $30 million Lunar X-Prize seeks to spur private companies to develop technologies for crawling around on, studying, and… Read full this story
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