Google's 'Moon Shot' web series profiles Lunar Xprize hopefuls

The documentary will debut on March 15th on Google Play.

Out of the 29 teams that joined Google's Lunar Xprize, 16 are still in the running, working on rovers that they believe can land and operate on the moon. We'll get the chance to know these ambitious space lovers more closely in the coming days through Google's new web series aptly entitled Moon Shot. Mountain View has teamed up with a group of filmmakers, including J.J. Abrams and his production company Bad Robot, to create the nine-part documentary. The character-driven short films will be following some of the teams' progress as they work on finishing their landers, less than two years before the deadline on December 31st, 2017.

Google launched Lunar Xprize in 2007 with the goal of landing a privately funded spacecraft on the moon. That rover has to be able to travel over 1,640 feet and beam back high-def videos and images. The first team that can accomplish that will take home a $20 million purse from the $30 million prize pot, while the second team will get $5 million.

The 16 remaining teams come from all over the world and from all sectors: there's one with an existing NASA contract, one that's backed by Audi and another that's partly funded by Lockheed Martin. Some are comprised of friends who just happen to love space and even one that's led by a father-and-son team. While it might take years before we find out which team(s) can reach the contest's goal, you can watch the documentary as soon as March 15th when it debuts on Google Play. If you don't have access to the Play Store, don't worry -- you can still see it two days later on YouTube.