Team Indus is India’s only entry to the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a global competition to land a robotic spacecraft on the moon. The plan is to focus on winning the milestone prizes, Indranil Chakraborty one of the prime movers behind the project told me. He said
We knew for a fact that we were up there in the top 4-5. It was a gut feel and it turned out to be true.
Rahul Narayan a Delhi based IT professional, Sameer Joshi, Dilip Chabria and Julius Amrit are other key members of the team. This is a great feat for the team which has been working on the project for about 3 years now and is really something to be proud of.
The Milestone Prizes, totalling US$6 million, are for demonstrating (via actual testing and analysis) robust hardware and software to overcome key technical risks in the areas of imaging, mobility and lander systems — all three being necessary to achieve a successful Google Lunar XPRIZE mission. (via)
To compete teams had to submit documentation to the judging panel, defining key technical risks they face and how they intend to retire them. Selected teams now have until September 2014 to accomplish the milestones outlined in their submissions.
The XPRIZE is a $30 million purse setup by Google to encourage private space exploration. Privately funded teams must successfully place a robot on the moons surface that explores at least 500 meters and transmits high definition video and images back to earth.