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Google Lunar X Prize deal with Discovery, Science Channels for live moon landing

Moon as seen by Apollo 12
NASA

According to an April 2, 2014 article in the Hollywood Reporter, the Discovery and Science networks are teaming up with the Google Lunar X Prize Foundation to cover the next race to the moon. The coverage will include, if it happens, a live broadcast of a moon landing, likely in 2015.

“The sibling cable networks have signed on to chronicle the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition for privately funded teams to land an unmanned craft on the moon by Dec. 31, 2015.

“The networks will chronicle the historic race with a miniseries event that follows teams from around the world as they race to complete the requirements for the grand prize: landing a craft on the surface of the moon, traveling 500 meters and transmitting live pictures and video back to Earth.

“Science and Discovery will follow the entire process -- from testing and lift-off to live coverage of the winning lunar landing, estimated to take place in 2015.”

The idea has some parallels with the first race to the moon. The Apollo moon landings were not only the greatest feat of engineering and exploration in history, but was also the most watched live TV event. The Apollo 11 moon landing and the subsequent moon walk by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were watched by about a billion people in 1969 on as planet that contained just over a billion people.

No human beings are going to the moon as a result of the Google Lunar X Prize competition, but modern high def video technology should make it compelling television indeed.