If you can land a craft on the Moon, roam around for 500 meters, take pictures with your craft, and then send a “Mooncast” back to Earth, Google wants to give you $20 million.
The Mooncast consists of digital data that must be collected and transmitted to the Earth composed of the following:
• High resolution 360º panoramic photographs taken on the surface of the Moon;
• Self portraits of the rover taken on the surface of the Moon;
• Near-real time videos showing the craft’s journey along the lunar surface;
• High Definition (HD) video;
• Transmission of a cached set of data, loaded on the craft before launch (e.g. first email from the Moon).
The Google Lunar X PRIZE is designed to spur on imaginations and innovation, though I think it’s taking place partly because Google wants to add Street View images of the Moon to their Google Maps software. Plus, it’s going to make for some awesome YouTube videos!