Israeli entrepreneurs Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub entered the Google challenge and managed to beat 14 other competitors from around the world to reach the final stage.
As part of the competition, the robot must walk at least 500 metres and send back high quality photos. The competitors were given a month to raise an entry fee of $50,000 and to provide a set of complex drawings.
SpaceIL, a not-for-profit organisation that the three entrepreneurs built, employs 40 workers and also consists of 200 volunteers. The organisation has raised around $40 million – with generous grants from the Miriam and Sheldon Adelson Foundation and from Morris Kahn, founder of the global giant Amdocs. SpaceIL is one of two competing teams out of 16 to have signed a launch contract, and is competing with better-funded teams from the US, UK, Germany and India.
In 2017, a Falcon 9 rocket will carry SpaceIL’s robot into space and launch it to the moon. Should they win the $20 million competition, the Israeli entrepreneurs plan to invest their winnings in new scientific projects – such as a probe to Mars.
Click here to watch a CNN video report on the Israeli team.