XPrize finalists mull payloads to the moon

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Science  23 Dec 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6319, pp. 1510-1511
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6319.1510

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The Google Lunar XPrize challenges privately funded teams to be the first to land on the moon, travel 500 meters, and send back pictures, for a $20 million jackpot. Although science was never the primary driver for the prize, the organizers encourage it through a number of bonus prizes. But some of the teams in contention are planning to do some science on their own initiative—or by carrying a paid-for payload. As the prize reaches a major milestone this month—narrowing down from 16 contenders to the handful that have booked a launch before the end of 2017—Science talks to those likely finalists about their plans to study the lunar surface, and things left behind there.