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Google to Sponsor $30 Million Moon Competition

     

engine

5:58 pm on Sep 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Google Inc. is bankrolling a $30 million out-of-this-world prize to the first private company that can safely land a robotic rover on the moon and beam back a gigabyte of images and video to Earth, the Internet search leader said Thursday.

If the competition produces a winner, it would prove a major boon to the emerging private spaceflight industry and mark the first time that a nongovernment entity has flown a lunar space probe.

Google to Sponsor $30 Million Moon Competition [news.yahoo.com]

pageoneresults

6:06 pm on Sep 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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GVerse

Google Universe is right around the corner. The guys are prepping up. Heck, they just got their own private runway at the end of a military strip which has never been done before. They're up to something BIG, REALLY BIG! The Gorg continues to grow at an exponential rate.

Whoever accomplishes the feat by the end of 2012 will receive $20 million.

First place is $20 million.

WiseWebDude

7:44 pm on Sep 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WOW. Now that is interesting indeed. Why don't they bankroll artificial intelligence and give us all a chip for our hand? Still, that is pretty cool though.

LifeinAsia

8:49 pm on Sep 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Why don't they bankroll artificial intelligence and give us all a chip for our hand?

Soon in Beta- AdSense for MindChips: contextual advertising for when people just THINK about your keyword.

mack

10:29 pm on Sep 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Seams a little bit like the Xprize on steroids. I can just imagine how many people will be building huge fireworks over the coming years.

Mack.

rj87uk

11:10 pm on Sep 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like a job for richard branson?

heh.

jeffgroovy

7:19 am on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

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First thought is: Bring it on, let's rock and roll baby, private companies have been sending satellites to space for a long time, but to my knowledge none have landed anywhere (besides back to Earth.) No company is going to be able to do it within a 20 million budget, but maybe a few universities will team up with some private companies to spread the work load and cost across a few organizations.

Second though is: I hope they suck the 30 million gradually over the next 4 years so we don't notice any changes in adsense earnings :)

Third thought is: Maybe if I'm lucky between now and becoming a very old man some one will come up with a much more efficient space vehicle that doesn't cost millions upon millions for each launch, otherwise maybe I'll have to sell my house, cash out of my retirement, max out every credit card I have, withdraw my life savings, borrow some money from a friend or two, then go on a vacation to a lunar base for 3 days ;)

Fourth thought is: No offense Google, but we've already been to the moon and taken samples back from it. It's nearly the end of 2007 over a 100 years since the first cars, we've got nuclear weapons, redundant wired and satellite global communication networks, innumerable miraculous technologies, and we don't even have cars that we can put on auto pilot so we can effectively use our time (millions of man hours daily) until we reach our destinations. We need a prize of $20 million to the private organization that figure out a way to increase human beings productivity by 10% or a prize of $20 million to the group that can figure out a way to reduce our nation's or the world's energy costs by 10% without increasing our debt by corrosponding 10%. I know a lot of new technologies come out of projects like this, and it sounds really cool, but is this lunar lander project a step in a not so needed and possibly unnecessary direction?

dz1post

9:43 am on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Fourth thought is: No offense Google, but we've already been to the moon and taken samples back from it. It's nearly the end of 2007 over a 100 years since the first cars, we've got nuclear weapons, redundant wired and satellite global communication networks, innumerable miraculous technologies, and we don't even have cars that we can put on auto pilot so we can effectively use our time (millions of man hours daily) until we reach our destinations. We need a prize of $20 million to the private organization that figure out a way to increase human beings productivity by 10% or a prize of $20 million to the group that can figure out a way to reduce our nation's or the world's energy costs by 10% without increasing our debt by corrosponding 10%. I know a lot of new technologies come out of projects like this, and it sounds really cool, but is this lunar lander project a step in a not so needed and possibly unnecessary direction?

*****************************************************
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voices

10:45 am on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Great linkbait!

sitemaker

10:58 am on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

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PR Stunt!

Why don't they reward for something a little closer to home!

There are people starving in this world, send the money there!

WiseWebDude

1:25 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Japan just sent a probe to the moon today as well. Um, now they we have sufficiently trashed this planet, we might as well go ahead and get started on the moon. LOL. I wonder why Google didn't try for something more ambitious like a manned flight to Mars or something and actually spend more than what amounts to a dollar considering Google's enormous coffers? Now that would have been exciting.

Sylver

2:43 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Humm, for anyone to win, very deep coffers are an absolute must, and at that stage, $20M is hardly an incentive in my humble opinion.

pageoneresults

3:08 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



$20M is hardly an incentive in my humble opinion.

It may be an incentive for those who are part way there. I'll agree that starting this from scratch is most likely going to be a bit more than $20 million. From my understanding, there are quite a few companies out there that are very close to achieving what Google is looking for. Maybe this was the incentive they needed to finish what they were doing within the specified timeframe?

LifeinAsia

3:43 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



There are people starving in this world, send the money there!

Billions and billions and billions of dollars have already been poured into more efficient food supplies, irrigation projects, and other huge-scale projects to help starving people. But guess what? There are STILL starving people and there probably always will be some, despite the best intentions otherwise.

In regards to spending mopney to go to the Moon (or other such projects called "frivolous"), people seem to forget that the explicit end goal is not the only purpose. The push by the U.S. to put a man on the Moon wasn't just about the actual act of Neil Armstrong stepping on the Moon. It wasn't even just about bringing back Moon rocks for scientists to drool over. The event needed and created huge leaps in technology that might have otherwise never been developed, or would have taken a lot longer to develop. Many of those technologies filter down into everyday life, raising the standard of living for everyone. Just think about how much better your life is because of Tang and Velcro. :) (All kidding aside- the race to the Moon developed numerous advances in medicine, electronics, and many other technologies.)

People seem to forget that some of the greatest technological advances occur during times of war, precisely because of the huge incentive to develop the better technology first to gain competitve advantage. Absent war (the lack of which is a good thing), money is usually the second biggest motivator.

If you look beyond the end-goal (putting a cheap rover on the Moon), you will see the other goals: inexpensive yet efficient robot devices that can be used for a number of other humanitarian purposes.

And here's another way to look at things- if the private sector can develop the same sort of scientific platforms for cheaper than the billions that governemnts spend to accomplish the same purpose, then those same governments can use the cheaper technology and spend the money they svae on straving people.

[edited by: LifeinAsia at 4:19 pm (utc) on Sep. 14, 2007]

Brianji

6:18 pm on Sep 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



WOW thats good, i think we all just learned something, I never really thought of it that way,

callivert

12:40 am on Sep 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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We need a prize of $20 million to the private organization that figure out a way to increase human beings productivity by 10%

that's been done many, many times. e.g.,
Google- making information much easier to locate, increased productivity by an astounding amount
Microsoft (and all those other noble yet forgotten companies that microsoft evilly exploited) - MS Word, MS Excel... huge boosts in productivity from typewriters and calculators
Ford- mass produced cars enabled people to get around faster, more efficiently
Hiram Moore, inventor of the combine harvester. agriculture has never been the same.
Bell and the telephone. no longer did you have to communicate via inefficient means over long distances
Watt, the steam engine and the industrial revolution. suddenly machines could do what previously needed to be done by hand.

the human race as a whole, and we as individuals, are vastly more productive than previous generations, by several orders of magnitude. this will continue.
offering a huge cash prize for implementing a difficult, complex task will probably open up even more improvements, in ways we can only guess at. Google's not alone in this. DARPA has a similar strategy.

rohitj

7:53 pm on Sep 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'd like you to clarify how automating cars will suddenly make everyone (or even drivers) 10% more efficient.

callivert

10:17 pm on Sep 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'd like you to clarify how automating cars will suddenly make everyone (or even drivers) 10% more efficient.

I'm not sure when this was mentioned.
However, anything that frees up time, allows tasks to be done more rapidly, or makes previously difficult or impossible task easy, improves productivity.

jeffgroovy

7:45 am on Sep 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I'd like you to clarify how automating cars will suddenly make everyone (or even drivers) 10% more efficient.

Okay so I pulled the 10% figure out of my head, but for those USA citizens commuting the national average of 24.3 minutes to work each day US Census for the average commute time in 2003. [census.gov] There's an awful lot of time that could be better utilized if our cars could drive themselves to and from a set destination like work, or to school, or the local market, grandmas house, etc, etc. While I agree you can make phone calls, listen to cd's, converse with someone in the car, you still have to spend a significant percentage of your mind power driving the car, or you're just asking for an accident. So if the car could drive itself, you could effectively study for a test, do actual work on your computer, spend some quality time with your children (assuming they're in the car) etc, etc. Unlike sitting on the toilet where you can pretty much spend 99% of your brain power reading something unless you are having digestive issues then you may only have 50% or less of your brain power to read. The military already held a competition for an automated car, I just want to see that technology end up in civilian cars. DARPA sponsored a a fully automated desert Humvee challenge in 2004 and 2005 [en.wikipedia.org] there were no winners in 2004 but there were in the 2005 one. There's going to be an urban challenge on November 3rd of this year for that so Google wouldn't want to step on DARPA's toes.

Honestly I'm really excited about this lunar X prize, I was just suggesting some other ideas for conversations sake, and it looks like it worked :)

Sharpseo

4:03 pm on Sep 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I'm all for Google branching out into new areas, but this seems like a waste of time & shareholder money.

It is Google, the corporation, and not the charitable foundation, that's doing this? Right? Seems a bit odd.

Habtom

4:14 pm on Sep 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I'm all for Google branching out into new areas, but this seems like a waste of time & shareholder money.

They want to impress us by doing something unique again. You got the search better, thumbs up for that.

But this is a waste of money, and whatever they achieve on this one won't impress me much.