SpaceIL Bags Moonshot Award By X Prize Foundation
The previous Google Lunar X Prize was an exorbitant amount of $20mn. While this prize has expired, now there is a small consolation prize for any spacecraft which can land on the moon surface by April.
The prize is from the X Prize Foundation. They announced this consolation prize on March 28, 2019. It declared that $1 million prize will be provided to the competitor who can provide a moon-shot technological feat. This award will be provided to SpaceIL. If the Beresheet spacecraft can reach the moon-land by end of April, the agency will gift it with a prize. This spacecraft was launched in February. It was a secondary payload on Falcon 9. The craft is on track and is supposed to enter the orbit which revolves around the moon on 4th April. Another landing for the spacecraft has been planned on 11th April. SpaceIL was one of the important teams out of 12 which competed in the Google Lunar X Prize. The first prize was $20 million for the 1st private spacecraft which could land on moon, travel for minimum 500m across the lunar surface and send back pictures and videos from moon.
The contest was announced in 2007. The price money was supposed to come down to $15 million if no craft could land on moon by end of 2012. The prize was supposed to expire by 2014 if no one could land on moon even in these years. The deadline has been extended several times after that. The prize was sponsored by Google and the company decided not to extend the deadline anymore after March 2018. While no one could complete the mission in the given timeframe, now X Prize is going to give time till April 2019 to anyone who can complete the challenge. They have not disclosed the source of these funds.