Brenda Cooper

Google’s Winning Moon Madness

The space enthusiast in me is really pleased with Google this week, as they’ve announced a prize for getting commercial craft developed to land on the moon. In this case, read that as real people instead of big government. They also picked a nice spot — the moon is close enough. They’re suggesting unmanned craft, which makes safety issues a little easier, and set the goal high without it being too high to reach.
If this prize gets traction similar to the Ansari XPrize, most of the people going after it will be private wealth, which I believe is becoming a big part of how our future is developed (See my Balancing Powers blog entry from June at Futurist.com).
Space is a good place for a mix of government investment (needed to produce the fabulous and expensive vehicles like Cassini that have probed our solar system) and private energy.
I hope I get to sit back and watch good things happen. There’s a quote I’ve heard in sf circles, maybe Heinlein or Pournelle or Niven, that goes something like I knew I’d see the first person on the moon. I didn’t think I’d see the last.
This is a small step to reduce that worry for my lifetime.