While astronaut Scott Kelly might have just come back down to Earth, plenty of people are still vying to do the opposite — perhaps no one more so than the subjects of J.J. Abrams' new Web series documentary, which chronicles the 21st century's answer to the Space Race.
Named Moon Shot, the doc (marketed as nine separate short films under one common theme) is set to be screened on laptops worldwide and takes a close look at 16 individual teams, each competing to launch the first privately-funded robot of their design to moon. What ties them together is the Google Lunar X Prize, a competitive initiative that began in 2007 to encourage the beginning of space privatization.
Whichever out of the 16 teams wins will be given a prize out of a total of $30 million. The timing of Abrams' miniseries release works well with the pressure these teams are under — they only have until 2017 to make the deadline for the contest.
Here are the rules, according to the official X Prize site:
"The first team that successfully completes this mission will be awarded the $20 million Grand Prize. The second team to successfully complete the mission will be awarded $5 million. To win either of these prizes, teams must prove that 90 percent of their mission costs were funded by private sources. Teams have until the end of 2016 to announce a verified launch contract to remain in the competition and complete their mission by the end of 2017."
So, why the moon to begin with? According to the X Prize site, it's in relatively close proximity to us, along with the fact that the moon contains valuable mineral and metal resources for us here on Earth — a pretty good reason to race up there.
However, for the contestants, it's more than that.
"It's not just really going to the moon," explains one contestant. "Going to the moon is symbolic. It is about showing what is possible."
As Wired noted, it might seem odd to some that Abrams has taken on what is essentially a very pretty commercial for Google's lunar enterprises; however, the fact that the J.J. Abrams' Hulu series 11.22.63 alludes to the fact that streaming is a medium with which he's comfortable. So, why not?
Moon Shot is set to debut on Google Play on March 15.
Check out the trailer for J.J. Abrams' Moon Shot in the video clip below.