There are 29 privately funded teams from 17 countries that beat the deadline and registered to compete in a race to build and transport an unmanned lander and rover to the moon – going after $30 million in prize money put up by the Google Lunar X Prize. There are also a few tens of millions in contracts that would come their way with that access to the surface (and beneath?) of the moon.
It saddens me that this gets so little attention from the media. I guess it is more important to know what vapid fame-mongering shenanigans the celebrities were up to last weekend than it is to notice humanities fledgling steps to creating a spacefaring civilization and the diaspora of life into the universe?
Hey, I probably watch more film and television than any two typical viewers out there… but how in the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster can Charlie Sheen’s latest blow and hooker fuelled night of debauchery overshadow the fact that we are currently taking the first steps on the grandest and most important venture that it is possible for any life form to undertake?
We are doing this right now, not far back in history or at some unknown future date. Wrap your mind around this; right now there are a few hundred men and women who are working on the most impactful thing that we as a life form can ever undertake even if we were to survive for another billion years.
(End Rant Mode)
In this video from a few days ago, Peter Diamandis congratulates the teams that made the deadline for entering the Google Lunar X Prize race. It looks like some time in the next two years, one or more private organizations will land a spacecraft of the moon and try to teleoperate a rover over the surface of another world. I think this is worth a little attention between Lady Gaga’s most recent cry for attention and the debut of the next “how-much-will-you-debase-yourself-for-fame” reality shows.
Here is a list of the teams that link to their page on the Google Lunar X Prize website. Team Plan-B is actually based in Vancouver and while it is a long shot, it is nice to have a team in our back yard. Odyssey Moon, while it is based on the Isle of Man, is headed up by a Canadian and their prime contractor is BC’s MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates. Another Canadian had to head south to set up Moon Express in Silicon Valley because he didn’t think he could raise the capital in Canada (and there is a story that Canadian creatives can relate to).