Man, when will this slow down.. on the heels of Google earth launching the space/stars view a couple of weeks ago, reports have it that the company is now bankrolling a contest that could give a boost to the commercial space flight industry. From the report... Google partnered with the X Prize Foundation for the moon challenge, which is open to companies around the world. The Santa Monica-based nonprofit prize institute is best known for hosting the Ansari X Prize contest, which led to the first manned private spaceflight in 2004.
The Google Lunar X PRIZE is an unprecedented international competition that will challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. The X PRIZE Foundation, best known for the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for private suborbital spaceflight, is an educational nonprofit prize organization whose goal is to bring about radical breakthroughs to solve some of the greatest challenges facing the world today.
From the AP... The Google Lunar X Prize joins another prize already dangling in front of potential competitors: $50 million that hotel magnate Robert Bigelow is offering the first private American team to rocket a manned craft into orbit by 2010. The race to the moon won't be easy or cheap. But whoever fills the requirements in the Google contest by the end of 2012 gets $20 million. See http://www.xprize.org - see also the announcement HERE