A new JJ Abrams-backed web series called “Moon Shot” officially launched at SXSW this week, telling the stories of the actual scientists behind the teams that are competing for $30 million in prizes. The series spans across nine short films, all of which are now available for download on Google Play and will soon be available on YouTube…

We told you about the project just a couple of weeks ago when Google announced that it has commissioned director Orlando von Einsiedel, producer JJ Abrams, and others to create the web series. As we saw as SXSW this week, the nine short films primarily explore the people and what drives them to pursue this dream, the sacrifices they’ve made, and other topics.

Google revealed last year that there were only two competing teams that seem likely to make it to the final leg of the race. This final lap between the two front-runners, one American and one Japanese, seems destined to become a 500-metre moon race between the two robots. Team SpaceIL from Israel, and Moon Express from the US also have launch contracts.

Created in 2007, the Google Lunar XPRIZE challenged teams to land their own privately-funded rover on the moon, travel some 500 meters, and beam back high-definition imagery. According to the Lunar XPRIZE website, the first team that successfully completes this mission will be awarded a $20 million Grand Prize. The second team will be awarded $5 million.

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