Japanese Startup To Attempt Moon Landing In 2017 For X-Prize

A Japanese startup competing in the Google Lunar X-Prize will attempt a moon landing next year. Team HAKUTO will work in collaboration with India's Team Indus, which already has a contract to launch its rover using a rocket developed by the Indian Space Research Organization. That launch is scheduled for December 2017.

Team Indus previously intended to rideshare with Astrobiotic, a US-based team.

Google is offering $20 million to the first private group that lands on the moon, rides around, and sends images back to Earth. Teams must secure a launch vehicle by the end of this year.

After a rover lands, it must travel 500 meters (1,640 feet) before transmitting some photos and videos back home. The second place team will get $5 million.

There are currently four contestants that have secured a launch.