Race to moon competition gets a N. Carolina entrant

In the category of audacious goals, a team of Raleigh-area business leaders and North Carolina State University faculty members has entered a worldwide contest to launch the first private rocket to the moon.

Sponsored by Google and the X Prize Foundation of California, the contest offers $30 million in prize money to teams that can do the following: Land an unmanned rover on the lunar surface, have it travel at least 500 meters, and transmit video back to Earth.

Ultimately, this contest is about making the moon a permanent celestial outpost. The X Prize Foundation, which offers huge sums of money to spur innovation in a variety of fields, envisions a day when large solar panels built on the moon are used to power entire cities on Earth. But first, you need to get there without government help.

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