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My local paper has an article suggesting a possible event with several robotic rovers leaving the same lander on the moon and trying to drive off for 500 meters (about a 1/3 of a mile) as fast as they can: the article makes it all seem fairly possible. They are competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE.

So does this race scenario have an realistic chances of occurring or is all hype?

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If you mean within the next 10 years, with 2015 as a starting date, then it is not outside the realm of possibility.

The advent of cheaper launches does appear to be upon us. SpaceX is very close to recovering a first stage. Whether they can refly it cheaply is the key question. They are close to launching a Falcon Heavy, again if they can succeed and also recover/refly is the key question.

If they succeed, space flight costs will drop dramatically. At that point, cheaper missions become very possible.

If a moon launch was \$200 million (Say Atlas V launched) for launch services and with reuse of first stages drops to \$20-30 million a launch, the economics of it clearly change.

Google has been pushing for lunar rovers, and people are actively working on them. Will they succeed? An interesting question. The moon is a harsh mistress, so it is hard to know. Odds seem to favour at least one succeeding out of the pack.

Can all these things come together within the next ten years? At the moment it looks likely, but many things can happen between now and then.

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    $\begingroup$ @JerardPuckett I was so happy when that just fit in perfectly. :) $\endgroup$ – geoffc Feb 23 '15 at 15:42
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    $\begingroup$ For the less well read the reference is The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress $\endgroup$ – James Jenkins Feb 23 '15 at 15:55
  • $\begingroup$ Looks like MathJax caught your dollar signs :) $\endgroup$ – raptortech97 Feb 23 '15 at 23:18
  • $\begingroup$ @raptortech97 I escaped them with back slashes. It renders properly for me. What are you seeing? $\endgroup$ – geoffc Feb 23 '15 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe it's just the app being funky, but I'm seeing "200" through "drops to" in italics. $\endgroup$ – raptortech97 Feb 23 '15 at 23:33

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