Thursday, September 27, 2007

BusinessWeek on the Business Side of the Google Lunar X PRIZE

BusinessWeek has an article on the Google Lunar X PRIZE. Some snippets from the article:

Peter Diamandis expects that it could easily cost the winner more than the prize amount to win. With that situation, will anyone be able to justify the project, or even make a profit on the trip?

'"There are companies that will have a great interest in flying their computers, sensors, their communications, and their cameras with us," says Carnegie Mellon's Whittaker, who has in the past tapped such big-name sponsors as Caterpillar (CAT), Google, and General Motors (GM) to fund and equip his DARPA Grand Challenge teams.'

"The Carnegie Mellon Moon Prize Team will also look for opportunities to sell the novelty of having a robot on the moon. For this, Whittaker has reunited with David Gump, his former colleague at LunaCorp ... A visitor to an amusement park, for example, might take a turn driving the rover around the lunar surface like a remote-controlled car. But LunaCorp fizzled out in 2003 because, according to Gump, it lacked credibility in the eyes of potential backers. That, he believes, has changed overnight. "With Google's announcement, you now have a credibility factor and an interest factor that didn't exist."

Also, "there could be even bigger customers—government agencies—waiting in the wings".

You can also check out a commented slide show of prize-related pictures that goes with the article.