Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Plans for a moon prize of $30 million finalised on Mann

International space teams have gathered on the Isle of Man to discuss one of the world's most lucrative competitions.

The Lunar X PRIZE, worth $30 million (£18.9m) will be awarded to the first company to land a robot on the moon.

The prize aims to open the space industry up to the private sector.

Tim Craine from the department of economic development said: "The Isle of Man was chosen to host the summit in recognition of our pro-space policy."

Mr Craine said that four of the top-ten satellite companies in the world were based on the island and that was why it had been chosen for the summit.

The $30 million prize will go to the first privately-financed team to place a robot on the surface of the moon.

The machine will then have to rove for 24 hours, travelling more that 500 metres, before sending back a data package including high-definition images.

President of the X PRIZE Foundation Robert Weiss said: "With this competition we hope to lower the cost of space exploration, which in the hands of government is usually quite expensive.

"More importantly though we are interested in re-kindling the youth's passion for space, science, technology and engineering."

The deadline for entries competition is 2012 and 22 different space teams from around the world are expected to compete.

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