back to article Google yanks cash firehose from Lunar X Moonshot comp. The actual Moon shot one

Google has pulled its financial backing from the Lunar X wheeze to get a privately funded spacecraft to the Moon after finally conceding that none of the five entrants were likely to make it there. “We have concluded that no team will make a launch attempt to reach the Moon by the March 31st, 2018 deadline,” said Peter …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The moony shot?

  2. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Increase the prize year-on-year...

    ...and fund it with the media rights. Problem solved.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Increase the prize year-on-year...

      Right, because I guess 30M are simply pocket money for such effort - you would recover a tiny fraction of your costs. The need to deploy a rover was complex enough (I guess China spent a lot to achieve it), but even obtaining the energy to get into the lunar gravity well was not simple - and especially cheap, unless you could piggyback another launch. Even if you could piggy back an expensive geosync launch, you would need your own fuel to raise the orbit enough, and very few expensive launch - or none - would allow another system with its own fuel and engine on board, because of the risks of causing havoc. Using less risky technologies would be probably more complex and expensive, if they could allow the desired speed.

  3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Flame

    I'm a Celebrity, get me to the Moon

    Can we build a rocket that's big enough?

  4. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Fake news

    They're not "yanking the cash firehose" nor are they "pulling the financial backing", they're simply saying "whelp, looks like nobody's getting there in time to win" because that's sort of a foregone conclusion now.

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Global Operating Devices for Mould Breakers/NEUKlearer Thinkers and Virtual Tinkerers

    How much are Google prepared to Invest for AIDrives to Mars .... and Planetary Bodies beyond.

    For Real Live Journeys to be BroadBandCasted on Earth ....... to show the Natives what A.N.Others can Realise for Population/Heavenly Planet Colonisation.

    $30m invested ten years ago is how much now?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Global Operating Devices for Mould Breakers/NEUKlearer Thinkers and Virtual Tinkerers

      hope it's enough to circulate/flow without need to care about having anything urgent just for oneself, amanfromMars (-;

    2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Why

      Are you thinking of going home?

  6. LordHighFixer
    Pirate

    I could have done it.

    I don't know if the 30m would have covered the cost to haul the Saturn V out of the Smithsonian and NASA, but, hey, it still there, just a systems check and load of fuel..

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: I could have done it.

      Those rockets have a lot of missing bits.

      Getting one flight ready would probably cost a lot more than buying an expendable Falcon Heavy.

      Would also take much longer than Elon will to fly the Heavy commercially.

  7. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Devil

    They did it wrong....

    Maybe they're going about this the wrong way... Make it a "manned" trip to the moon and the astronaut will be selected and set (willingly or unwillingly) based on winning using paid ballots. Say $10 a vote. I'm sure here in the US that there's XXXX millions that would be donated to have someone shipped to the moon.

    I'll leave it an exercise for the reader to figure out the person most likely to win the "election" and be sent. .

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: They did it wrong....

      It would be a great election folks, to make the Moon great again.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Buy a $63m SX launch to win a $30m prize?

    Or (maybe) $15m for a Pegasus XL (may have gone up a bit).

    Very long odds.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Buy a $63m SX launch to win a $30m prize?

      I think the Electron is probably the cheapest feasible one now.

      IIRC, that's $5 million for 150kh to LEO.

      - but so far Rocketlab have had exactly one successful launch, and I don't think they would be ready for another before the deadline.

  9. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Oops. Just rechecked Pegasus XL. It's $40m/launch minimum.

    So yes the Electron looks like it in this payload range, unless you fly as a secondary (which can be very cheap, but you're at the mercy of the prime customers schedule and orbit needs).

  10. rdhood

    Private launch FAIL.

    They have spent appx the same amount of time as the original missions to get to the moon in the 1960s. While the U.S. gov't did this 40 years ago, they did it with ancient, heavy technology. I would have thought that a private company using 21st century technology could have accomplished this in a similar timespan as the U.S. gov't 40-50 years ago.

    I guess this just illuminates what a damn fine job they did in the 60s.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      "they did it with ancient, heavy technology"

      Actually the technology was pretty new at the time, especially the liquid oxygen one.

      The Orion is actually revisited old technology.

      "using 21st century technology"

      21st technology is mostly some faster CPUs and more software. Still, they can't break the law of Physics.

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