Missed this over the weekend. The XPrize Lunar Lander Challenge is giving 1,000,000 buckaroos to the first team that can build a lunar lander that:
- make a round trip between two landing pads
- refuel at the 2nd landing pad
- hang in the air for at least 3 minutes during each leg of the round trip
- land on a pad that is littered with fake lunar boulders
Here is the first leg of flight #1 from Armadillo Aerospace
Many people fantasize about what they would do if they won or inherited a ton of money. Buy new houses and cars. Take expensive vacations. Definitely quit work.
But not me (well I would do the things above, but they would not be the focus of my new found wealth). I would donate a lot of it to the X Prize Foundation (or something like it). The X Prize Foundation started in 1996, but the idea of offering a reward for achieving a very hard to reach goal extends way back in history.
To me, there is no better way to spend away your pile of gold, then to offer rewards to those explorers and entrepreneurs that have a vision to help make this a better planet. Last week, the Northop Grumman Lunar Lander X Prize awarded it’s first ever prize to Armadillo Aerospace. For their efforts, AA collected $350,000 and the admiration of nerds around the world.
Next on my list of “most exciting things”, is the Google Lunar X Prize which will award $30 million to the first team to land a privately funded, built, and launched craft to our nearest celestial neighbor. In a previous post I mentioned how the Planetary Society would like for the United States to focus on “beyond the Moon” exploration. It would be great to see the X Prize Foundation take up this mantle and offer a reward for some of the goals proposed by the Society.