GOOGLE FUNDS a $25 million lunar X-Prize:

The X Prize Foundation saw the new contest as one of “the grand challenges of our time that we can use to move people forward,” said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, chairman and C.E.O. of the foundation.

The prize for reaching the moon and completing the basic tasks of roving and sending video and data will bring the winner $20 million, according to the contest rules. An additional $5 million would be awarded for other tasks that include roving more than 5,500 yards or sending back images of artifacts like lunar landers from the Apollo program.

Carnegie-Mellon is already in the game, and more will follow. But not everyone is excited. Rand Simberg writes: “I just can’t get as excited about it as I was supposed to be, based on all the pre-announcement hype. I’m just not that into space science, or robots on other planets. I was hoping that it would be something that would further drive down the cost of space passenger travel. But hey, it’s Google’s money.” He rounds up a lot of other reactions.

Meanwhile, David Nolan wonders who, if anyone, will play the Burt Rutan role this time around.