As Team Indus, the Indian entry in the Google Lunar X Prize race to the moon, readies its lander for flight it has started a competition for students in that country for flying experiments to Earth’s nearest neighbor. In so doing the team has expanded participation in what may be Asia’s first landing on the lunar surface. 3,000 teams of students under 25 are vying for the right to fly an experiment to the moon. A list of the Lab2moon experiments that will fly to the moon will be announced in March, according to the Hindu newspaper.

Possible experiments range a study pf photosynthesis to recycling water to examining yeast formation to brew beer on the lunar surface. Another experiment will try to generate electricity using cosmic radiation. Some 25 experiments have been short listed in advance of the final down select. Each of the experiments have a similar theme of trying to facilitate living in #Space.

Especially, one might mention, brewing beer on the moon. Home brewed lunar craft beer might even become an export product, depending on its quality. It would certainly ease the rigors of living on the moon for future settlers.

The Google Lunar X Prize is coming into its home stretch with teams from the United States, #India, Japan, Israel, and Germany in the competition for the first private group to land on the moon, move 500 meters from the landing site, and return hi resolution images and videos from the lunar. Team Indus is sharing a rocket flight with the Japanese team. Team Hakuto.

The team that wins the new race to the moon will be awarded $20 million. Almost as important it will win the kind of glory last won by NASA when Neil Armstrong made that first footstep almost 50 years ago, thus fulfilling the promise of President John F. Kennedy, humbling the Soviet Union into the lunar dust. However, in this case, more than one team may well succeed in effecting a moon landing, sharing the glory if not the prize money. 2017 may well be the year that begins the era of commercial space exploration, with profound implications for human civilization.