Bangalore-based aerospace startup Team Indus, also the only Indian contender for the $30M Google Lunar Xprize is adding another feather to its cap. As part of their crowd-funding initiative to raise $10 million, the startup has asked for a one-of-a-kind participation called the Million2Moon Movement. For a contribution of INR 500, the startup will micro-engrave the donor’s name on an aluminum object and place it on moon’s surface. The Team Indus Moon Mission has already seen a lot of activity with over 10,000 participants signing up for it.
India’s first privately funded spacecraft that aims to soft land on the moon in 2017 also boasts of some heavyweight names in its corner — Infosys co-founder and entrepreneur Nandan Nilekani, Inmobi founder Naveen Tiwari and GOQii CEO and founder Vishal Gondal. Now it wants the 1.4 million Indian citizens rooting for Team Indus Moon Mission with the unique “Send Your Name to the Moon” drive.
Team Indus also picked up the much-coveted $1M as a Milestone prize for their landing technology, last year.
The criteria for winning the Google Lunar XPrize is:
- a) Successfully placing a spacecraft on the moon’s surface
- b) Travelling up to 500 metres
- c) Transmitting high-definition videos and images back to earth
Currently, the global race is on between 5 countries – Israel’s SpaceIL, Moon Express from USA, Synergy Moon, Japan’s Hakuto and India’s Team Indus. The five teams will have to travel 238,900 miles to clinch the prize money. The first team will take home a whopping $20 million while the second will have to contend with $5 million. But there’s a caveat, to take home the prize money the teams will have to prove that 90% of their space mission was privately funded.
The teams will place a robot that will walk up to 500 metres and capture high definition images and videos. The landing site is a dusty plain of the moon known as Mare Imbrium, commonly known as the Sea of Showers. Team Indus’s Lunar Rover is an aluminum terrain rover, the lightest rover to trek on the lunar surface.