waderoush writes "The Google Lunar X Prize, announced in 2007, challenges private teams to send remote-controlled landers and robot rovers to the Moon by December 31, 2015. At the moment, 26 teams are still in the running — but organizers say 2012 could be the shakeout year, as many teams realize they can't go it alone or that they can't raise the tens of millions of dollars needed to reserve a launch vehicle. Xconomy talked with officials at Google, NASA, the X Prize Foundation, and two of the competing teams, asking whether the prize is really winnable in the face of the formidable fundraising obstacles the teams face. The piece also looks at the technology being developed by two of the teams (Moon Express and Team FREDNET), why lunar exploration matters to Google, and how Tiffany Montague, Google's manager of space initiatives, is working to improve the teams' chances."
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