The XPRIZE Foundation has announced that it will award a $1 million prize to an XPRIZE team that achieves a "moonshot" technological feat outside the parameters or timeframe of an official XPRIZE competition.
According to the foundation, the award is inspired by SpaceIL, a former Google Lunar XPRIZE team whose mission to become the first private, non-government entity to land a spacecraft on the lunar surface is underway, with an anticipated landing on April 11. If the mission is successful, SpaceIL will receive the inaugural Moonshot Award from the foundation. In 2015, SpaceIL became the first team to announce a lunar launch contract, and on February 21 it launched a SpaceX Falcon 9 to the moon. The Lunar XPRIZE concluded in 2018 without a grand-prize winner. The foundation has announced that it will consider future Moonshot Awards in other domains in recognition of both literal and figurative moonshots.
"Though the Google Lunar XPRIZE went unclaimed, we are thrilled to have stimulated a diversity of teams from around the world to pursue their ambitious lunar missions, and we are proud to be able to recognize SpaceIL's accomplishment with this Moonshot Award," said XPRIZE chief executive Anousheh Ansari.
"SpaceIL's mission represents the democratization of space exploration," said XPRIZE founder and executive chair Peter H. Diamandis. "We are optimistic about seeing this first domino fall, setting off a chain reaction of increasingly affordable and repeatable commercial missions to the moon and beyond."