The XPrize’s Lunar Deadline Looms
For many prize participants and space-news enthusiasts, the change likely comes as little surprise. Aspiring explorers face some daunting hurdles between Earth and lunar glory. First, there’s the technical challenge involved in building a lunar spacecraft capable of reaching the moon and then performing a soft landing—a feat that has so far been accomplished by only three nations: the United States, the Soviet Union, and China. Then, and perhaps even more crucially, there are the financial and logistical obstacles associated with getting to space. A rocket launch can easily cost tens of millions of dollars, and it’s not easy to coordinate, particularly if you’re trying to launch on short notice or save money by piggybacking on an existing mission.