Long simmering controversies concerning the Google Lunar X Prize (GLXP) heated up today as one of the 28 teams competing for $30 million branded the competition’s rules as “oppressive” and “unconscionable” and accused the X Prize Foundation of tolerating a serious conflict of interest involving prominent trustee Naveen Jain, who leads one of the competitors.
“The facts of the matter are that the MTA [Master Team Agreement] is nothing more than a one-sided ‘legal framework’ to benefit the X PRIZE Foundation and Google while placing an unreasonable burden on the teams. The agreement is egregiously one-sided, overly burdensome, oppressive and unconscionable,” Team Mystical Moon wrote in a blog post.
Sometime during the next 3 years, a rocket will sit on a launch pad in Florida or elsewhere in the world containing a lunar lander and rover built to win the Google Lunar X Prize. Only, the team launching it might no longer be in the competition.
Why would a team turn down a minimum of $20 million in prize money for a mission that costs many times that amount?
That’s an excellent question. And a fascinating tale. Read on.
A consumer watchdog group called (of all things) Consumer Watchdog has issued a report focusing on Google’s allegedly close relationship with the federal government. One of the issues they have raised involves Google’s $1.3 million per year lease of space at Moffett Field, which is under the control of NASA Ames:
One of the most visible signs of Google’s clout, the report said, is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Moffett Airfield, near Google’s world headquarters. When a deal between NASA and top Google executives to use the base was first disclosed in 2007, it called for only four jets to use the base.
But newly released government records show that the Google executive fleet has now grown to six jets and two helicopters, while at least 40 Google employees hold security badges at the base and all of the planes are supplied with Department of Defense jet fuel.
Pop the corks! Light up those Cubans with $100 bills! And order that Beluga caviar by the ton!
Yes, prospective billionauts around the world are celebrating today. They will soon have rides into orbit, thanks to a new deal between the Russians and an American space tourism company:
Space Adventures, the only company that has provided human space mission opportunities to the world marketplace, announced today the conclusion of an agreement with the Federal Space Agency of the Russian Federation (FSA) and Rocket Space Corporation Energia (RSC Energia) to commercially offer three seats on the Soyuz spacecraft bound for the International Space Station (ISS), beginning in 2013.
These seats will be made available through the increase of Soyuz production, from four to five spacecraft per year. Each flight will be short duration, approximately 10 days, and will contribute to the increase of launch capacity to the ISS.
The Isle of Man Government (www.spaceisle.com) and the X PRIZE Foundation (www.xprize.org) are pleased to announce the fourth Google Lunar X PRIZE Team Summit will be hosted on the Isle of Man on October 4-5, 2010 during the United Nations declared World Space Week.
NASA’s first Information Technology (IT) Summit will bring together government and industry leaders to explore the outer reaches of information technology.
The summit, which takes place August 16-18 at the Gaylord National Harbor in Maryland, will gather 750 participants and more than 100 expert presenters with themes on collaboration, social networking, innovation, infrastructure, operations and IT security and privacy.
The Next Step in Space Coalition, a group of businesses, organizations, and people working to ensure the future of US human spaceflight, announced today that its membership has grown to include a diverse set of businesses and organizations, including Google, Inc., Analytic Graphics Inc., the Space Coast Economic Development Commission and the National Space Society.
Google Earth now brings you the moon Financial Post
On Monday, the search engine giant unveiled Moon in Google Earth, an interactive, three-dimensional atlas of the Moon as part of its Google Earth 5.0 satellite imaging and mapping software, to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Aldrin’s historic sojourn on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969.
Nicole Jordan – Team Liaison, Google Lunar X Prize (Session Chair) Bob Richards – Odyssey Moon Fred Bourgeois – Founder, President and CEO, Team FREDNET Kevin Myrick – InterPlanetary Ventures Mike Joyce – Founder, Next Giant Leap
On the spacecraft, [Ed] Lu had to monitor its energy use closely and shut things down immediately after they were no longer needed. But that is not the direct reason he turned into an “energy nerd”, as his colleagues are calling him.
In an interviewed by Google CEO Eric Schmidt during the Google Zeitgeist conference, Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson gave an update on the status of SpaceShipTwo in which he appeared to say that testing of the rocket engine is complete.
“Where we are now is the mothership that takes the spaceship up is finished and flying,” Branson said 44 minutes into the session. “And the rockets (have) finished their testing. In December, the spaceship will be finished. And it will then get started on (an) extensive test program.”
Turning medical research on its head is just one of Brin’s current projects. At the same time as being involved, as part of a triumvirate with co-founders Larry Page and CEO Eric Schmidt, with the day-to-day running of Google, his expansion plans stretch from literature – Google has hopes of digitising every book ever published – into outer space.
Google Mars 3-D Offers Guided Martian Tour Space.com
Armchair explorers can now spy on Mars orbiters and access raw spacecraft data from NASA â€” part of a new “Live from Mars” update for Google Mars 3-D.
NASA and Google, Inc., joined forces to launch the Mars add-on for the popular Google Earth platform in February. The March update includes new features such as watching orbital tracks of spacecraft in real-time, peeling back historical globe maps of Mars and taking a guided fly-around tour of the red planet.