That Vacation on the Moon Is Closer Than You Think — Thanks to Entrepreneurs
Five teams competing for the $30-million Google Lunar XPRIZE have just been awarded a combined $5.25 million for meeting significant milestones in developing a robot that can safely land on the surface of the Moon, travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send “Mooncasts” back to Earth. A tiny startup from India with no experience in robotics or space flight, Team Indus, just won $1 million of this prize. It stood head-to-head with companies that had been funded by billionaires, had received the assistance of NASA, and had the support of leading universities.
The good news is that governments no longer have a monopoly on space exploration. In two or three decades we will have entrepreneurs taking us on private spaceflights to the Moon. That is what has become possible.
What has changed since the days of the Apollo moon landings is that the cost of building technologies has dropped exponentially. What cost billions of dollars then costs millions now, and sometimes even less. Our smartphones have computers that are more powerful than the Cray supercomputers of yesteryear, which had strict export controls and cost tens of millions of dollars. We carry in our pockets high-definition cameras that are —> Read More Here