The #google lunar x Prize has announced the 2017 Moonbots Challenge, aimed at students between the ages of eight and 17 around the world. The competition is divided into two parts,

First the teams of two to four members, plus a team captain older than 18, will be invited to produce a two minute video explaining what they would like to leave on the lunar surface as a legacy. The deadline for submission of these videos is March 15, 2017. A panel of judges from the International Space University will pick the top 12 teams, which will be announced by April 2017

Next, the 12 selected teams will be provided a one of three available robotics platforms, either

LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3, VEX IQ, MECCANOTM, or Meccanoid 2.0. Each team will be invited to create a simulated robotic lunar mission based on the legacy video that they submitted. Each simulated mission will be presented to the judges via a live webcast which will also be shared with children and adults in their community as a way to further interest in STEM education. The videos will be sent to the moon as part of the Google Lunar #x prize.

The grand prize winner will be announced in July 2017. One grand prize winning team, along with a parent or guardian, will be sent on a trip to meet with one of the Google Lunar X Prize finalists, currently racing to be the first private group to land on the moon. The trip could be to Japan, India, Israel, or the United States depending on which team is selected.

The Lunar X Prize was created to provide an incentive to private groups to land a robot on the lunar surface and perform certain tasks, such as returning high definition video and images and moving from the landing site at least 500 meters. The competition has already created the prospect of private space exploration both independent of and in partnership with national space agencies.

The Moonbots Challenge has run in parallel to the Google Lunar X Prize with the intent to inspire young people’s interest in STEM studies since 2010. The 2017 competition will be the final one.