Private Companies Shoot for the Moon About 30 companies vying for Google's big prize By Luke Kelly-Clyne, Newser Staff Posted Jul 23, 2011 12:24 PM CDT 17 comments Comments A portion of the moon crosses into the Earth's shadow seen from Siliguri on West Bengal state on June 16, 2011. (Getty Images) (Newser) – The space shuttle is gone, but worry not. Private industry is coming to the rescue, and fast. Inspired by a $30 million prize put up by Google, 29 entrepreneur/engineer teams are out to prove they have what it takes to win the kitty and become the first private enterprise to land on the moon by December 2015. The New York Times checks in on some of the contestants, whose aspirations are fittingly extraterrestrial in the grandiosity of their scope. Two examples: Moon Express plans to become the chief porter of moon deliveries. It envisions selling logo sponsorships for its lander and broadcast rights for video, and maybe even a Moon Idol competition. Astrobotic Technology is out to sell space on its lunar landers to scientists who wish to send up moon-bound experiments. The asking price? $820,000 per pound.