Google Moon Money

By now everyone has heard the way cool announcement out of Wired NextFest about the Google Lunar X Prize. The planet may look forward to the first privately funded spacecraft to land on the moon.

(Of course, at
last year's NextFest when Virgin Galactic unveiled its mockup of SpaceShipTwo, the commercial spacecraft that will take humans suborbital, you could see that the robots running around the convention center were looking a bit jealous of the humans. This year at NextFest the humans might seem a little envious, since the Google Lunar X Prize will send to the moon only lucky robotic rovers....)

Alan Boyle reports on the
prize; Space Prizes blog has this roundup; and Clark Lindsey considers some whys and why nots in connection with this exciting contest.

It's Friday so I'll link one YouTube
promo video (approx 8:13 min).

And now that the prize is open and the news has orbited the globe (with official web sites in Spanish, Russian, French, German, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese and Italian), anyone even remotely interested in revving his or her moon rover in this competition has seen the Google Lunar X PRIZE
guidelines which include the basics: "To win the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a team must successfully land a privately funded craft on the lunar surface and survive long enough to complete the mission goals of roaming about the lunar surface for at least 500 meters and sending a defined data package, called a 'Mooncast', back to Earth."

But here on SLP, before potential clients even ask, we think it's not too soon to start reviewing the black letter official rules. Or is it? Well apparently yes. The organizers have posted this note: "Official Rules for the Google Lunar X PRIZE are undergoing a formal vetting process wherein government agencies, space agencies, and the public at large will review and provide comments on the rules before they are finalized. Please refer to our competition guidelines." Oh. OK, we'll check back and look forward to commenting on those contest rules.

For now, go for it, lunar jockeys! We await your mooncast from somewhere near Tranquility Base. And to paraphrase JFK, we choose to go to the moon not because it is easy, but because it is hard, plus it pays 30 million bucks. (Although you probably have to be Elon Musk to figure out how to make a profit from that. ;)

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