2016 Jan 1, 8:01am
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$20M for the winning vehicle. This doesn't cover the launch, Trans-lunar Injection, Soft Landing, etc. Huge amounts of volunteer labor is being done, that would have to be paid if it was a private entity. Parts are being donated. Academic Institutions are donated money to the participants. Governments are donating space on their launchers. Without all these factors, $20M wouldn't BEGIN to cover the costs of landing a rover on the Moon.
Far from encouraging private development of space, it shows how impossible it is. Without big money from donors, free resources from companies and institutions, volunteer *unpaid* scientists and engineers, the $20M wouldn't begin to cover the costs.
And what would a lander do on the moon? There are thousands of hi-res surface pictures of the moon, mostly recently by Yutu, the Chinese Rover, free in the public domain. Who is going to pay thousands or millions for the rights to moon surface pictures?
The dominant team so far has received $16M from one donor alone, Sheldon Adelson.
SpaceX, Bigelow, etc. all receive multi-million dollar contracts from Government Agencies to develop their technology and conduct launches. Without that taxpayer funded contracts, they would be vaporware.
And to claim the money, do you have to give up patent rights and trade secrets?
NO it wouldn't.
Space X finally got a rocket to land. So they'll be able to reuse 1 out 10 rockets they launch.