German team Part-Time-Scientists Enters $30 million Google Lunar X-Prize competition

Google Lunar Xprize logo. Credits: Xprize

[X Prize Press Release - 24.06.2009]
Today, Team Part-Time-Scientists announced its official entry into the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition, marking Germany’s debut in this new race to the Moon. The team joins the $30 million contest that challenges space professionals and engineers from across the globe to build and launch a privately funded spacecraft to the Moon. The spacecraft must complete a series of exploration and transmission tasks as outlined in the competition’s official rules. Team Part-Time-Scientists, headquartered in Berlin, Germany has seven team members and is among 19 teams from 42 countries that are competing for their share of the multi-million dollar prize purse.

The Part-Time-Scientists are not only the first German team to join the competition but also one of the youngest as the vast majority of team members are in the 20’s. In addition, this is the first team made up entirely of non-space professionals. The seven members are scattered across northern Germany and welcome everyone who wants to join their efforts.

Team leader Robert Boehme: "We want to prove to the world that the labor of a few dedicated, hard working people is equivalent with that of a 100 rocket scientists. We believe the future of humans is among the stars. For that to happen, we have to get humans out of low earth orbit again. One doesn't have to be in a space agency to fly into space. Thanks to the X PRIZE Foundation, private companies have built vehicles that can travel beyond the edge of our atmosphere. Going to the Moon, even if it's just a man made robot, is the next logical step for private space exploration.”

Boehme continues, “I take great pride in the fact that we really are private individuals who are trying to accomplish this goal. Among the Part-Time-Scientists team, we have two physicists, two IT Professionals, two Software Developers and one Hardware Specialist. I certainly hope more people will join us over time. The knowledge for lunar exploration has been around for more than 30 years. How hard can it be? In addition to sending a rover to the Moon, we also know that each team will need to communicate with their respective rovers. Right now, there are only a few ways to accomplish that task, each method requiring the involvement of a government space agency. Once our own rover is ready to begin its journey to the Moon, we aim to have our own means of earth/Moon communication in place, not only for us, but for everyone else to use in future missions. "

The Part-Time-Scientists are a non-profit organization that is financed by donations, their own capital and sponsors including leading companies like Texas Instruments (electronics and semi conductors)and O'Reilly Media (computer book publisher).

"We're extremely excited to welcome our first Germany-based team into the Google Lunar X PRIZE,” said Will Pomerantz, Senior Director, Space Prizes, The X PRIZE Foundation. “Robert and the Part-Time-Scientists team bring an incredible amount of energy and excitement to the competition, the same kind of youth and passion that was seen among the engineers, scientists, and technicians who made up the
Apollo program. By building their foundation upon the core principles that have lead to world-wide success stories like Linux, the team will be pursuing a management and organization style that was unheard of in the space industry until quite recently, but has the potential to generate excellent results."

For more information about team The Part-Time-Scientists, please visit High resolution photographs, video and other team materials are available upon request.

The $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE is an unprecedented international competition that challenges and inspires engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. The $30 million prize purse is segmented into a $20 million Grand Prize, a $5 million Second Prize and $5 million in bonus prizes. To win the Grand Prize, a team must successfully soft land a privately funded spacecraft on the Moon, rove on the lunar surface for a minimum of 500 meters, and transmit a specific set of video, images and data back to the Earth. The Grand Prize is $20 million until December 31st 2012; thereafter it will drop to $15 million until December 31st 2014 at which point the competition will be terminated unless extended by Google and the X PRIZE Foundation. For more information about the Google Lunar X PRIZE, please visit

The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. In 2004, the Foundation captured the world’s attention when the Burt Rutan-led team, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world’s first private spaceship to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for suborbital spaceflight. The Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE and the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. The Foundation, with the support of its partner, BT Global Services, is creating prizes in Space and Ocean Exploration, Life Sciences, Energy and Environment, Education and Global Development. The Foundation is widely recognized as the leading model for fostering innovation through competition. For more information, please visit