Since 2007 Google has offered a $20m bounty to anyone who can launch and land a rover on the Moon, drive it 500 metres and send back HD photos and video – and now the company wants us to pay more attention to the people trying to do it.
Working with Bad Robot Productions, the production company started by Force Awakens director JJ Abrams, Google has today launched a series of short documentaries on YouTube called Moon Shot.
Each of the nine episodes focuses on one of the teams from around the world that are currently competing to win the prize money. And according to Co Create, the focus of the show is the individual stories, rather than the science or the rockets.
The series is directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, who was nominated for an Oscar in 2014 for Virunga, a film about mountain gorillas.
“Once we delved deep, that’s when we started to learn about the human beings that are involved,” Bad Robot producer Andrew Lee says. “And there’s nothing more relatable than hearing a human story that’s in the context of something so large.”
The Google Lunar prize itself is run in conjunction with the X-Prize foundation, which is best known for running the Ansari X-Prize competition, which challenged private companies to build and launch a spacecraft that could lift a human to 100km, and was won in 2004 by SpaceShipOne.
Here’s the first episode, which focuses on the team from Pittsburgh.