Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, September 14, 2007

To the Moon! And some Olympic stuff

He wasn't talking about space travel! It was a metaphor for spousal abuse! - Fry on Futurama explaining the old Honeymooners catch phrase, "One of these days, Alice! Bang! Zoom! To the moon!"

There was something in the news yesterday that's really cool. Google and the makers of the X PRIZE have teamed up to bring you...

The Google Lunar X PRIZE!

We all remember the X PRIZE, that mega million dollar prize for the first privately manufactured and flown spaceship?

Well, now comes the Google Lunar X PRIZE. This prize is for the first privately manufactured, launched, and successfully landed lunar probe!

What does Google have to do with this? They're a sponsor.

But yeah. Here's what you have to do: build a lunar probe. Launch it to the Moon. Have it successfully do a soft landing. It's got to have a rover, that roams for 500m, and it has to send back a "mooncast." If you can do this, $20 million can be yours!

Key to his is that "mooncast," which is what your lunar probe actually transmits back to Earth. What it has to send back is:

- 360 degree panoramic hi-resolution photos of the lunar surface
- self-portraits of your lunar rover on the lunar surface
- near-real-time video of your rover roving
- some high-definition video from the lunar surface
- a pre-loaded message that you installed in your probe before you launched it

In all, around 1G worth of data.

But wait! There's more! You can also get a $5 million bonus prize if your probe accomplishes one or more of these side quests:

- go roving for a long distance (more than 5km)
- grabbing a picture of a man-made artifact (like leftover Apollo junk or one of the old Soviet rovers)
- discovering water
- surviving night on the Moon (around two weeks of darkness in temperatures that are cold even for Antarctica)

So who wants to join my team? Building a lunar probe would only cost, oh, several billion dollars. We will call her "Persephone," and as part of that pre-loaded message, we can slip in my podcast. First radio show from the moon!

Oh, and there is a deadline. It has to be done in 5 years.

And the race is on to see who'll be hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics!

The application deadline was yesterday, and here's all the cities from around the world that have filed applications:


Rio de Janeiro






I kind of hope it's Prague. I've got German relatives who live near the Czech border and I could go crash with them.

Anywho, the winning city gets 7 years to build all the fancy new stadiums and stuff they promise in their bids, so that means the successful applicant will be chosen in 2009.

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