Thursday, January 31, 2008
The X PRIZE Foundation news scroller adds one more article to the comprehensive list from that X PRIZE Cars post. It's from the Oakland Business Review, and it's about the big auto companies and their glaring absence from the competition. You'll have to read the article to see why.
It's interesting to compare this to the Ansari X PRIZE, which the big aerospace companies sat out. However, when the dust settled, Virgin Galactic was there as a big customer to take the winner to production scale and Northrop Grumman was there for a buy-out (although conventional wisdom is that the purchase was more related to other Scaled Composites efforts that fit NG needs).
That's all well and good, but it would be interesting to get the big auto companies into the AXP competition. Could there be a 3rd category in the competition designed specifically for big automotive companies? Maybe this "big company" category would lower the MPGe requirement from, say, 100 MPG to 80 MPG. The tradeoff? Raise the required vehicles that can be produced to a much greater number, like 100,000 or more, and have more requirements to prove that this mass production will actually happen (is already happening). Since prizes on the order of $10M aren't a big deal to such huge companies, just make it $1M to show that it's a serious prize (leaving the rest for the entrepreneurs), and of course let them share in the media coverage.
There's also a link there to an article that says Ray Sidney (formerly from Google) made a big donation to the AXP. Here's a version from CNet. Last August the X PRIZE Foundation had a press release that included the following, which confirms a donation then (I don't know if the article refers that that donation or a later one):
The AXP has recently finalized a supporting sponsorship from Adobe. Other early AXP sponsors and donors include Idealab, Ray Sidney of Big George Ventures, the Elbaz Foundation, and the Jack D. Hidary Foundation. Once fundraising for the prize purse and administration is complete, the AXP will officially launch.
“We are seeking assistance from major foundations, corporations and philanthropic individuals to help bring about this revolution in transportation,” Diamandis said. “Visionary individuals and organizations have risen to this type of challenge before by backing the Ansari X PRIZE for personal spaceflight, and the Archon X PRIZE for Genomics. We’re confident we can build a financial base for this competition as well, and expect one or more heroes to rise to this challenge.”
There's also a post with a number of related articles, including some on Tesla, at Space for All.
One of the links at the Space for All post is on one of many potential developments in alcohol fuels. Somewhat related, Transterrestrial Musings has a post that's critical of the way Robert Zubrin promotes his flex fuel car mandate idea for E85 and M85 support for all cars sold in the U.S. Although I agree with Rand about Zubrin's over-the-top argumentation style, I'm still pretty convinced Zubrin has a good idea that would accomplish a lot with a minimum of government interference after reading his Energy Victory book. Of course I went into the book knowing ahead of time what style to expect, and I therefore had "all shields up" to counter that style.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The Downlink also lists the tracks at the conference. One of the tracks is "Prizes and Competitions". At first glance I like the distribution of track subject matter. Here's the full list:
- Space Tourism
- Prizes and Competitions
- Space Business and Entrepreneurs
- NASA's COTS Program
- Lunar Exploration
- Mars Exploration
- Space Settlement
- Space Solar Power
- Space Law
- Space Medicine
- Space Environment and Space Weather
- Near Earth Objects and Planetary Defense
- International Space Programs
With some of the savings from cutting subsidies for industries that can stand on their own, we can establish a national challenge to improve the cost, range, size, and weight of electric batteries for automobiles. Fifty percent of cars on the road are driven 25 miles a day or less. Affordable battery-powered vehicles that can meet average commuter needs could help us cut oil imports in half. The reward will be earned through merit by whomever accomplishes the task, whether a laboratory in the Department of Energy, a university, a corporation or an enterprising young inventor who works out of his family's garage.
Our first year rocked and 2008 promises to be even more exciting ... We're going to have 2 Awards: Space Travel and Space Exploration and many other surprises.
Monday, January 28, 2008
There's also coverage of some of the academic and economic arguments about the pros and cons of prizes compared to grants, patents, and contracts.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
The discussion suggests a third Space Elevator Games challenge - cooling the beam power receiver in the vacuum of space.
The details of what Trumpf is offering to the teams are also discussed.
The blog also has a post on a video of E-T-C, one of the beam power teams. It looks like they must have stopped off at in New Mexico at the space museum along the way?
Of course emails and phone calls, while convenient, aren't the most effective way to express whatever your political convictions are. For example, candidates respond much better to personal contact like ProSpace's March Storm or, as Jim Muncy noted in this Space Show interview, volunteering in a campaign and influencing it from within.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
I think there's probably a great deal of truth to this line of thinking. However, an extremely difficult prize can be designed to reduce this effect, for example by increasing the prize reward, reducing the risk by including second and third place prizes, including incremental sub-prizes that are stepping stones towards the big goal, and/or orienting the prize towards a goal that businesses would find attractive to address (just not quite enough to go after it without the prize) because of market potential. Another way of thinking about it is that there's no harm in offering a large prize even if you as the sponsor think there's only a 10% chance of anyone achieving the goal, since you don't have to pay if noone wins, and some of the competitors may make useful progress towards the goal even if they don't win.
The post links to a number of earlier posts from the same site on space prizes, such as this one that's only a day old about the organization in the space science community for a change in the Vision for Space Exploration to focus on astronomical satellite servicing at Lagrange points and exploring asteroids instead of the Moon. In that post, prizes are seen as a third alternative.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Update (Jan 25): There are new posts at Unreasonable Rocket showing new GPS boards that arrived and another frustrating crash.
- a list of engines and fuels that may be of use to GAT Challenge teams
- a link to a paper on alternative fuels for commercial aviation
- links on ultracapacitors that may be useful in achieving the GAT Challenge goals
- a note on a CAFE Foundation lecture to a University of California, Davis Aeronautical Engineering class where the students may rise to the Challenge
- the GAT Challenge FAQ
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I'm not sure if this part indicates just where they wanted to go at first, or where they'd still like to go:
We planned to do both a student and professional version of this challenge, but quickly realized that we did not have the capability to take both on at first.
Of course if the big jump is too much, it's sometimes possible to take smaller steps (like expanding the competition to have an undergraduate level, or many other options).
Meanwhile, Photonics.com has its own version of the announcement of Trumpf support for the 2008 games. A LaserMotive photo is included.
Monday, January 21, 2008
The blog also has a post about the Photonics West Exhibition and how it relates to the Space Elevator Games this year.
Update (later in the day): The SE Blog just added a press release from Spaceward on TRUMPF Laser assisting Space Elevator competitors by providing a commercial laser source and related support. Like DILAS, TRUMPF will be at the Photonics West Exhibition.
While watching that video, I noticed this one about the X PRIZE Foundation at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show.
"I definitely think that's something they ought to pursue more of," he said. "I'm not an anomaly. I'm not just one guy out here. There are lots of people like me who have the training, background and experience, and who, for whatever reason, are not in the industry but who are interested in contributing in some way. There are lots of really intelligent people who can contribute in the way that I hope to contribute by bringing new ideas in a way that NASA can take them over and bring them into their programs."
Meanwhile, SpeedUp diagnoses some noise they've seen in data collected during tests. Supplier fault tolerance is mentioned, and tether testing may be coming soon.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
We also welcome the introduction of the Aeronautics and Space Prize Act (H.R. 4917), which proposes and aeronautics and space prize program to develop aerospace research and development.
I'm a little worried about this part of the Act:
(2) with the advice of NASA and other agencies as appropriate, to carry out a program for tasteful advertising of commercial products and services in conjunction with the Nation's aeronautics and space endeavors in conjunction with NASA, other agencies involved in aeronautics and space, or independently; and
It seems like this might compete with entrepreneurs, and even prize competitors and alliance organizations running the prize competitions, if they want to get sponsorships. Last year it seemed to me that the Space Act of 2007 that ProSpace supported didn't have this potential disadvantage.
Dr. Bard Geesaman has joined the Foundation as the Executive Director of Life Sciences. Geesaman is an MD, venture capitalist and entrepreneur who has experience in many areas of the medical industry. In his new role, Geesaman will be responsible for developing, funding and running new prizes in the area of Life Sciences, which will include any cancer, healthcare and genomics prizes.
Not only does this give you an idea of their management, but it also shows what types of prizes they want to offer in the future. Here's some background information on Dr. Geesaman.
The Space Elevator Reference notes that their SpaceRef On Orbit service includes a Space Elevator forum. One of the contributers will be Ben Shelef from the Spaceward Foundation that runs the games. Other Space Elevator notables will also contribute. Here's the forum and here's a post to get things rolling from the SE Reference's Mark Boucher.
By the way, I already posted about the Space Elevator Games press release a couple days ago, but here's an article on it from On Orbit, just so you can get a sample of that new service.
Universe Today also has a discussion about the Spaceward plans.
Meanwhile, the Space Elevator Blog has a post on the machine that tests the strength of the tethers in the Tether Challenge.
Finally, I already linked to this RLV News post because it fit in with a different topic I was writing about, but it also fits in with this post, so it gets another one. One of the items in the post is about carbon nanotubes, which are (so the scientists and engineers tell me) probably the way to go in the advanced stages of the Tether Strength challenge.
Update (Jan 20): Here are a few more Space Elevator links:
The Space Elevator Blog explains a technical mistake related to tether strength, and tells us about future posting plans.
Tether team Delta-X also clarifies the strength issue.
Climber team USST held a meeting on Jan 8, and plans another Jan 21 (that's tomorrow). Potential new team members are invited.
Friday, January 18, 2008
At the end of his post, Will has a number of other notes of interest:
Dr. Bob Richards, the CEO of Odyssey Moon, was on The Hour tonight. Worth watching!
Tomorrow--Friday, January 18th--we'll be presenting the Conrad Award at NASA HQ. It should be broadcast live on NASA TV. I'll post more about this on Tuesday
Also on Tuesday, I'll be speaking at a Congressional Nanotechnology Caucus briefing entitled: "Nanotechnology and Innovation, Commercialization, and Prize Competitions" over in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Should be fun--hopefully I'll blog about that next Tuesday!
The Pete Conrad Award press release is found in a lot of places - for example, see Earth Times.
RLV News has a post with a number of prize-related pieces, including Will's post. It also links to the fast-paced interview of Dr. Bob Richards that Will mentioned.
Wired Science has more on the Google speech, including a video of part of the speech. You should be able to find the rest of it by clicking on the video and going to YouTube.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Schmidt praised programs such as NASA's Centennial Challenge, which awards cash prizes to inventors that come up with solutions to the agency's needs. Last year, NASA awarded $200,000 to Peter Horner, an unemployed engineer from Maine, who created a new space glove using a common rubber glove.
Google has sponsored the X Prize Foundation, an organization that runs similar competitions, with an award of up to $30 million for a group that can design and launch a lunar lander with a robotic explorer on board. In many cases, the teams competing for the prize in these types of competitions spend more than the total prize money, but the public awards spur competition, Schmidt said.
"Why would we do this?" Schmidt said. "Because it's fun."
"The best way to be lucky is to create more luck," he said. "And the best way to create more luck is to create more at-bats."
JB: ... You propose, in “Real Change,” a new kind of space program, for, giving prizes, for example, to go to Mars. How can the bureaucracy permit you to go past them and accomplish something like this?
NG: I think the bureaucracy will probably do everything it can to stop it. In 1903, the Smithsonian had been working on airplanes for 10 years, and had spent over $50,000 in tax money, and the Wright brothers, who were two bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio, flew. Now, they actually had a fundamentally different model than the Smithsonian model. It was much lighter, it was much smaller, it had a different set of aerodynamic principles, and it worked. It’s only great virtue was that it actually flew. Now you would never have gotten it funded by the National Science Foundation, you never would have gotten it approved at the Smithsonian, because they didn’t believe in it intellectually. It’s not that they were bad people; but they were wedded to a bad idea.
NASA today has managed to make space dull, expensive, bureaucratic, and slow. This is an enormous achievement: it’s just a dumb one. I think what we want is to find ways to break out. What I propose is to go back to a model that worked in aviation for 50 years: Offer very large prizes. I had a very senior member of the Air Force say to me, if we had a $5 billion tax-free prize for the first team to get to Mars -- think of it as the 21st Century America’s Cup, ‘cause, you know, there are millionaires and billionaires out there who spend an amazing amount of money on yachts in order to compete for the America’s Cup.
If we had a 21st Century America’s Cup in space, this particular expert in the Air Force said to me, they thought we’d get there in about five years and save about $220 billion dollars in federal spending over the next generation. So, you look at that sort of thing, and I don’t want to try to fix NASA, I want to try to create a competitive, prize-based system. I want to do the same thing in health. Alzheimer’s, a terrible disease, is a $1 trillion, 200 billion [threat??] to the baby boomers. What if we had a substantial prize: a billion dollars or more, tax free, for the first breakthrough that blocks the effects of Alzheimer’s. If any bright scientist anywhere wanted to stay up late at night, just invent it. Don’t fill out forms, don’t send in 70 copies, don’t wait to be peer reviewed: if you can meet the standards, and you can meet the challenge, you can get the money.
JB: Somewhere in my desk at home I have a copy of the Wright brothers’ first contract with the United States Army for their flyer. I believe it’s three-and-a-half pages long. I don’t know that you can get there from here in our current system. How can you get Congress to understand the value of such prizes and change it? You’re talking about real change in your book, and you’re defining it in terms of real leadership. Explain please.
NG: Well, we have been first of all, talking with many members of the House and Senate, as well as Governors and state legislators, and I’m getting a pretty significant response. I think there will be bills introduced in the next two months on a whole series of prizes. And I think there’s real interest: for example, at least one presidential candidate has picked up the idea, $1 billion for the first mass produced car that can do 100 miles to the gallon, which begins to change the whole economy for gasoline and for oil in Saudi Arabia and Iraq and Iran. So I think you’re going to see the idea of prize dramatically reenter the public dialogue, and that’s one way I think “Real Change” is going to turn out to be a pioneering book that really does create a fundamental shift in the national dialogue. We found in our polling -- which is at AmericanSolutions.com -- if you click on ‘research’ there, we did six national polls this summer, and overwhelmingly we had people who think prizes are a good idea. We saw the X prize being offered several years ago, for near space: $200 million was invested, to get a $10 million dollar prize. Because you stimulate the competitive spirits, you encourage the entrepreneurial mindset, you say to people who have lots of money and strong egos, “Let’s see if you can do it.” Not, “let’s see if you can apply for the paperwork,” -- “let’s see if you can actually do it.”
NG: ... I would say that you could look at this whole issue of prizes. Overwhelmingly the American people are worried about their energy future. They feel very uncertain about having Venezuela, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Russia. How can a rational country rely on those sources of energy? And so I think if there was an aggressive opportunity to say to every entrepreneur in the world, “Look. If you can get us out of this mess, you’re going to get very rich very fast,” I think you’d see dramatic change.
Here's some polling results from the site Newt mentions, AmericanSolutions.org:
Prizes should be given to companies and individuals that invent creative ways to solve problems.
We support giving large financial prizes to companies and individuals who invent an affordable car that gets 100 miles to the gallon. (77 to 15)
We support giving a large financial prize to the first company or individual who invents new ways to successfully cut pollution. (79 to 18)
We support giving a large financial prize to the first company or individual who invents a new, safer way to dispose of nuclear waste products. (79 to 16)
Also see pages 94-97 here.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Also, from the X PRIZE Foundation news scroller comes an audio interview about the Automotive X PRIZE at AutoWeek. A prize amount of $10M was mentioned in the interview ... but is that the grand prize, with other smaller ones?
We have done some testing with low power lasers horizontally at 1km. We have lined up two different Solar cell providers depending on what laser we end up using. We have one or two answers for every technical challenge we have anticipated. We have a few parts for the ‘08 climber in house that are awaiting testing along with some sketches of where to put them.
Our focus has been in making sure we have a viable plan, but the fund raising environment seems warmer than last year.
We have recruited some more expertise this year to make sure we have all the skills needed.
One of the things he mentions in the post is a requirement of all Google Lunar X PRIZE registrants to blog. Odyssey Moon, the first team to register, has already started, with 3 posts in the last couple weeks, pictures of the team rollout, and video coming soon. First, Loretta Whitesides kicks off the first of the New Years' posts. Then, Robert Richards gives an overview of the company. Finally, Chairman Ramin Khadem explains the business reasons why they're doing it. Here's part of the reason:
... we are not competing with Space Agencies. On the contrary, we see ourselves working with them and being responsive to their requests should they have small payloads they wish ejected onto the lunar surface. We also believe if you are clever, nimble, of the right size and right ambition you can do what major space agencies cannot achieve. This we believe constitutes the sweet spot of private enterprise.
Will also posts on the Google Lunar X PRIZE forum. Here's an interesting discussion that explains why the prize includes a requirement for a small payload and self-imaging.
Monday, January 14, 2008
I apologize to all that this has become the unreasonable helicopter blog.
I just thought that blog title had a nice ring to it. Also, no apologies necessary, as far as I'm concerned. I like seeing people take different paths to solve the space access problem, and if one path leads to an unreasonable umanned helicopter along the way, let's give it a try.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
My main complaint is in whats missing - there is absolutely no discussion about the potential for the commerical sector in space. This is where the real excitement within the space community exists - the development of real markets for putting people into space, and having routine access. To be fair, Senator Clinton has not mentioned commerical space either, but as the candidate of change, I would hope that Senator Obama would see this. With the developments coming from the NewSpace industry, we sit on the edge of major developments and changes, much like we saw with the internet in the 90s, and much like people expect with things like stem cell research.
Also missing is the issue of whether prizes will be utlized. The X Prize proved very successful in changing the nature of how we interact with space, and proving that "hobbyists" could become involved. And the Centennial Challenges program has also been shortchanged again this year, and thus I remain concerned.
Clearly all of the Presidential candidates from both parties (as well as most Congressional representatives) have a long way to go in their consideration of commercial space and space prizes.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
energy issues link (similar information on this fact sheet)
Support Next Generation Biofuels
Deploy Cellulosic Ethanol: Obama will invest federal resources, including tax incentives, cash prizes and government contracts into developing the most promising technologies with the goal of getting the first two billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol into the system by 2013.
blog discussion link (I couldn't find anything more official)
He just mentioned an X-Prize-type deal to get a car that reached 100 mpg. I am ALL for that (although I would prefer that gallons of gas were out of the equation altogether)! We need more of that from government. Government is too expensive.The role for government is to encourage business. I am all on board with a government X-prize. Private businesses can spend 1 bilion much more efficiently than government.
Huck's Army.com forum
America has always been about developing technology and bringing it to market. We need to lead the world with Alternative Energy. I hope Huckabee has specific plans for this. He mentioned in the last debate, offhand, how we could provide, say, a $1 billion prize to the first company that achieves a 100 mile per gallon car. I think he is spot on. But do it more like this: $1 billion goes to the first American company to sell 500,000 vehicles in the American market that get 80 miles per gallon, if done by 2016.
Science and Innovation Speech
I've also called for competitive prizes to encourage innovation. Back in 1957, President Eisenhower, when he met with his Scientific Advisory Committee again, wondered if there were a way to keep people as excited about science as they were about sports and competition. And this was back when reality entertainment meant playing in the neighborhood park. Why not encourage people to innovate through healthy competition?
Innovation Fact Sheet
Direct the federal agencies to award prizes in order to accomplish specific innovation goals. The federal agencies should regularly use prizes to encourage innovation when there is a clearly defined goal and when there are multiple technological paths for achieving that goal. Prizes can attract non-traditional participants and stimulate the development of useful but under-funded technology. Hillary Clinton proposes to make prizes a part of the budgets at the research agencies.
In looking through some of the other posts there, I noticed this NASA student contest for art related to "Life and Work on the Moon".
Friday, January 11, 2008
The new prizes will be:
- The Community Noise Prize ($150,000)
- The Green Prize ($50,000) (MPG)
- The Aviation Safety Prize ($50,000) (Handling, eCFI)
- The CAFE 400 Prize ($25,000) (Speed)
- The Quietest LSA Prize ($10,000)
The rules also show a few more prizes:
Individual "Showcase" Prizes: Winner of each of the following five prizes will receive US$ 3750.00:
- Quietest Cabin Prize
- Best Angle of Climb Prize
- Shortest Takeoff Prize
- Best Glide at 100 mph Prize
Thursday, January 10, 2008
- Is this rover going to the Moon? (From Hacked Gadgets DIY Blog).
- Popular Mechanics has 9 questions on robotics for Matthew Mason, robotics expert from CMU. The Lunar X PRIZE is only mentioned briefly (as is the DARPA Urban Challenge), but it gives some perspective on how CMU, and perhaps therefore the Red Whittaker Lunar X PRIZE team, sees robotics.
- The Space Fellowship has an interview with Interplanetary Ventures. (link from RLV News)
- The Space Show has an interview with Odyssey Moon's Robert Richards.
There's been a lot of news and posting related to the Lunar Lander Challenge teams lately. Here's what I've seen compressed into one post:
- SpeedUp posts on a recent pressure test, and comments on weight-saving measures that can be used if needed.
- RLV News points to an Unreasonable Rocket post on valves, controls, and the helicopter with a lot of pictures to show you what the hard work is like.
- RLV News comments on another William Pomerantz X PRIZE Foundation post, this time with a lot of details on Acuity, one of the quieter teams as far as LLC Internet posting is concerned. This one also covers 2 more posts from Unreasonable Rocket - 1 on a typical rocketeer evening and another on a different evening.
- RLV News also has the latest update from Masten Space Systems, including several job openings at the company, lots of details on their design and planning decisions, and contracts. The LLC is mentioned, but it's not clear from the main post whether they're planning to compete in 2008. However, Jon has a comment about that in, well, the comments section: "If we can get this new engine debugged and operational, and if we can get the vehicle ready to fly early enough in the year, we’ll probably take a shot at competing this year."
Also, as planned, the winners of the 2007 Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Award that was part of the 2007 X PRIZE Cup will be honored at NASA Headquarters. It looks like the Conrad Scroll will be sent to the ISS, too.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Announcement October 30, 2007 It was an honor to participate in the Northrup Grumman X-Prize Cup Lunar Lander Challenge. BonNova would like to thank its investors and supporters. Chief Engineer Allen Newcomb welcomes two new engineers on board, Dan Kent and Bob Noteboom, and would like to thank Vanna Bonta for her contributions, without whose inspiration this project would have never taken flight.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Meanwhile, both the Space Elevator Reference and the Space Elevator Blog present the latest newsletter from the Spaceward Foundation. There's a positive look back on the 2007 games, which I think is warrented (unless perhaps you're one of the teams that wanted to win that money in 2007). There's also a look ahead to the 2008 games, which, as I've noted in other posts, are tremendously ambitious. Of course, it's for a tremendous amount of money ...
I've noted some of the changes before ... for the Beam Power Challenge, they include a total of $2M in prizes at stake, and a 1 km climb, presumably requiring laser power. Here's an excerpt to show how they're thinking:
The racetrack we’re planning, based on a pyramid-tethered balloon, will be the tallest such pyramid ever flown. We’re working with industry experts to set this up, and will keep you updated. This is very exciting for us, since this architecture is extendable to 10 km as well
The update notes that some teams are already planning to go for it in 2008, and registration is open. I'm not sure which teams will be in the running, but The Kansas City Space Pirates are going for the win in 2008, and are switching to laser power. However, they need to do some fundraising for laser testing. Meanwhile, the McGill Space Elevator Team notes that
The team is working hard to create a laser beaming system for the 2008 competition.
The conference report notes that no money is being provided to NASA’s Centennial Challenges prize program in FY08 to fund additional prizes. “Providing additional funds to a program based on prizes only creates a sizeable amount of unused funds while other aspects of NASA’s mission are being cut or delayed due to a lack of funds,” the report notes. That language is immediately followed by nearly seven pages of earmarks totaling several tens of millions of dollars (which will be dissected in a later post.)
A far better honor would be to use the money as a prize for placing a private astronaut in orbit. $45 million would get folks interesed. Call it the Glenn Prize in honor of the flight.
I wonder what John Glenn himself thinks about the idea?
The Department of Defense announced today the inaugural $1.75 million Wearable Power Prize competition will be held at the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms, Calif., Sept.22 until Oct. 4, 2008.
The Wearable Power Prize Competition was first announced in Jul. 2007. Its 13-day capstone event culminates on Oct 4 at MCAGCC with a “Power Wear Off” competition. The Wearable Power Prize competition gathers and tests wearable power-generating methods and techniques. The goal is to reduce the weight of power systems that warfighters carry to operate their radios, navigation, weapons, and other gear. Competitors will demonstrate wearable systems that can power military equipment for 96 hours, but that weigh less than half the current battery load.
There's more from Network World.
Meanwhile, the X PRIZE Cars site has had so many updates in the couple weeks since I first mentioned it that I won't even give links to the individual posts. Just go to the main page and start reading. Also, be careful to not just read the initial page; a lot of the content is reached when you "Continue reading". For Elon Musk fans, there are a number of references and links to Tesla Motors. There's also an offer to ask the AXP Foundation people or competitor teams questions at the Detroit Auto Show.
Meanwhile, the X PRIZE Foundation news scroller gives a link to an article from the Great Lakes IT Report on the AXP competition and its planned appearance at the Auto Show. There's also a link to an article in the Canyon News on the upcoming official launch of the AXP competition.
I've posted on some of the information before, such as the potential Lunar X PRIZE Team FREDNET, Google Lunar X PRIZE betting, and the Foundation's Google Lunar X PRIZE forum Will mentioned in an earlier post. However, there sure is a lot in the post you haven't seen here, including a link to the recently updated Official Questions and Answers, so check it out.
Will isn't the only one posting at the X PRIZE Foundation; Tom Vander Ark has recent posts here, here, and here. Some of his earlier posts give a lot of hints about where the Foundation is going, but I'm not sure if I picked up the hints this time (maybe because I haven't read the books and articles he mentioned).
Monday, January 07, 2008
Now, they have a blog that shows their progress with the zero gravity dance, now in the "familiarization" stage. This particular post from Spider draws parallels to Ansari X PRIZE sponsor Anousheh Ansari and her blog from the ISS, and this blog from the ground as a new form of space-related art is made. The Heinlein Award, Heinlein Centennial, and Diamandis's early work with the X PRIZE are all discussed.
Here's another key post with a graceful teaser video of the dance as they find out what the environment is really like. Science fiction author Allen Steele is one of the commenters to the post.
The blog is fairly new, so you can probably read all of the posts in time sequence.
See more about the Stardance project here and here.
Check out the 2007 The Year in Questions from the New York Times. Question number 33 is related to the NASA Centennial Challenges. In case that's not enough of a hint, here's the answer key.