A team of Indian engineers (Team Indus), after winning a million dollar prize from Google, is getting closer to become the world's first private-sector group to land on the moon.
The team of engineers, some young, some retired from the Indian space program are getting closer to achieving their goal of a lifetime.
Axiom Research Labs, a Indian aerospace startup, was one of winners of an interim prize in a global competition to develop a spacecraft that could land on the moon as well as explore it.
While there are still 17 teams in the competition, Team Indus, the only Indian team is confident that they will land on the moon early next year.
Team Indus, not only has the landing gear ready, but also a working moon rover named Ek Choti Si Asha (One small hope).
The Indian research team won the cash prize for building a strong landing gear for their spacecraft. The fact that the Indian team won because of the landing gear suggests that the team is ahead in the race.
This competition, the Google Lunar XPrize was created to trigger private sectors to innovate and invest to become the world's first privately-funded exploration of the moon.
The final prize of USD 30 million will be given to the team that successfully lands on the moon and can explore at least 500 meters from the landing area with a robot and sent back high resolution images of the moon.
An estimated USD 45 million is required to reach the moon and one of the team's founder, Dilip Chabria says he has already raised most of the money through investors, he refused to be specific.