First Russian Team Enters Lunar X Prize Competition

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A group of Russian engineers and managers known as Team Selenokhod announced Sept. 21 that they will compete for the Google Lunar X Prize, an international contest to land a robot on the Moon, travel 500 meters over the surface and transmit images and data back to Earth.

A total of 20 teams are registered to compete for the $30 million in prize money. Teams have until Dec. 31, 2012, to claim a $20 million grand prize. After that, the top prize drops to $15 million and remains available until Dec. 31, 2014.

Moscow-based Team Selenokhod is the first Russian team to enter the Google Lunar X Prize competition, according to contest organizers.

The team’s vehicle, Selenokhod, consists of a lander with a communications system and two four-wheeled, solar-powered rovers each equipped with a high-definition camera and a low-gain antenna, according to a press release posted on the X Prize Foundation’s Web site.