Google me to the moon
A big new prize was announced today, which may help to spur further development of private space vehicles the way the $10-million Ansari X-Prize did three years ago. (See one of my stories here about the winning SpaceShipOne).
Coming from the same folks, the new $30-million Google Lunar X-Prize will be awarded to the first private company to send an unmanned rover vehicle to the moon, travel at least 500 meters on the surface, and send back lots of pictures of its activities to Earth. Alan Boyle has lots of details in his story today on MSNBC.
Among those who may try for the prize is Armadillo Aerospace, the odds-on favorite to win $2 million next month at the Lunar Lander Challenge in New Mexico. Armadillo's Pixel has already demonstrated that it's capable of winning the prize, as long as nothing goes disastrously wrong between now and then. (See my story on that today at Technology Review)
Things are really heating up in the private space arena, as I've been predicting for years. This could be the busiest year yet, and next year even more so.