THE LUNAR X-PRIZE: A Preview Of The Next Space Age?
Never mind the fact that the Google Lunar X Prize teams won’t launch their crafts until 2015. Those teams are already meeting extremely high demand for their still-hypothetical moon missions as different organizations lobby for space onboard.
“Our first mission payload is oversubscribed and our second is fully subscribed,” said Alan Stern, director of the Florida Space Institute and chief scientist for the Google Moon Express team. “There are a number of market segments for commercial lunar travel.”
Stern and his fellow X Prize teammates are hoping that the demand for access to their experimental lunar lander is a hint at things to come. At the recent SETIcon II conference, the entrepreneurs and scientists on hand say that the only way humanity is going to stay in space, especially with governments continuing to tighten the belt around their space agencies, is for commercial space companies to make a sustained profit. And the signs of change are already showing.