Leicester professor judges space travel competition

Professor Alan Wells, Emeritus Professor and Founding Director of the University’s Space Research Centre is playing a lead role in a global multi-million pound prize competition - Google Lunar XPRIZE - to land a robot on the moon.

Professor Wells is Co-Chairman of the distinguished judging panel that comprises leading space experts from around the USA and Europe.

The competition offers $30 million in prizes designed to inspire pioneers to do robotic space transport on a budget.

To win the grand prize ($20 million), private teams (with no more than 10% in government funding) must:

  • Land a robot safely on the Moon
  • Move 500 meters on, above, or below the Moon’s surface; and
  • Send back HDTV Mooncasts for everyone to enjoy

….and this must all be completed before the 31 December, 2016 deadline. There are other prizes, too, for missions like surviving the lunar night and visiting an Apollo site.

Professor Wells said: “The Teams participating in the Google Lunar XPRIZE know to get to the Moon and win the Grand Prize is a daunting challenge. The Milestone Prize winners have made important strides in that direction and have shown high levels of expertise and great innovation in getting to this important milestone in the programme.”