Airbus, Blue Origin, ESA, and some other heavyweight companies and organizations are backing a new technical competition program called The Moon Race:

The Moon Race competition is a global initiative founded by Airbus and international partners, aiming to boost the movement around Moon exploration and enable the demonstration of key technologies required for its sustainable exploration.

Some minor details such as exactly what technologies are to be demonstrated and the value of the prizes have yet to be determined: Blue Origin and Airbus back ‘The Moon Race’ – Alan Boyle/GeekWire

Organizers launched their effort at this week’s International Astronautical Congressin Bremen, Germany. They want teams to propose technological challenges for lunar surface operations in time for next year’s IAC meeting.

Suggestions could include constructing the first artifact made from lunar resources, extracting enough water from lunar soil to fill a standard-sized bottle, building a power-generating system capable of lighting up the lunar night, or operating the first lunar greenhouse.

The application period is due to open in early 2019. “Details on monetary prizes will be announced with the opening of the applications period,” the organizers say.

The competition is envisioned as a five year program starting from the 2019 starting line. The teams would be expected to “demonstrate proof-of-concept” in 2020, test the systems in a “lunar environment” in 2021, build working implementations in 2022-2023, and send them to the Moon in 2024.


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