TIME space

Indian Startup Plans Mission to Land on the Moon in 2018

Earth and lunar landscape
Digital Vision—Getty Images An Indian startup is planning to launch a mission to the moon at the end of January 2017 which, if successful, would make India the fourth nation to land there after the U.S., Russia and China (stock photo)

Team Indus is competing in Google's Lunar XPrize challenge

An Indian startup is planning to launch a mission to land on the moon at the end of January 2018 which, if successful, would make India the fourth nation to land there after the U.S., Russia and China. It would also be the first time a privately-held company has placed a spacecraft on the moon’s surface.

Axiom Research Labs’ Team Indus, which is made up of former scientists from the Indian Space Research Organization, is competing in Google’s Lunar XPrize challenge, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Lunar XPrize is an unprecedented competition to challenge and inspire global engineers, entrepreneurs and innovators to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration.

To win the first place $20 million prize, privately funded teams must successfully place a spacecraft on the moon’s surface, travel at least 500 meters and transmit high-definition video and images back to Earth. The second place finisher gets $5 million; incentive bonuses totaling another $5 million are available for such achievements as surviving a lunar night (which lasts 14 Earth days) and visiting an Apollo landing site.

As well as Team Indus, Israel’s SpaceIL, the U.S.’ Moon Express and an international team called Synergy Moon have signed up to compete. Sixteen teams in total want to make the 238,900-mile trip but many are still in the fundraising process. All of the finalists are required to have a verified launch contract in hand by Dec. 31 2016 to remain in the running.

The co-founder and director of the Bangalore-based startup says the mission will cost $60 million and around $15 million has been raised so far through private equity. The rest of the money is expected to come from sponsorship, donations and grants, as well as charging companies or universities to put their instruments on board to collect data.

[WSJ]

Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


YOU BROKE TIME.COM!

Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team