Lunar Entrepreneurs Converge on Isle of Man for Google Lunar X PRIZE Summit

Google Lunar X PRIZE teams vying for the $30 million come closer to achieving mission.

SpaceIsle hosts X PRIZE teams to further Google Lunar X PRIZE.

Google Lunar X PRIZE teams inspire Isle of Man Students with moon shot plans.

ISLE OF MAN – October 18, 2010 – The Isle of Man Government (www.spaceisle.com) proudly hosted entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world last week for the 4th annual Google Lunar X PRIZE (www.googlelunarxprize.org) Team Summit. The X PRIZE Foundation (www.xprize.org) brought 14 of the 23 teams competing for the $30 million prize to the Isle of Man to provide updates on mission progress, participate in educational initiatives with Isle of Man students, and discuss the future of the competition.

Immediately after the event, William Pomerantz, Senior Director for Space Prizes at the X PRIZE Foundation, noted that “The presentations we’ve seen here on the Isle of Man have made one thing clear: there is a tremendous amount of activity in this competition. With teams ranging from student-led groups to open source organizations to established companies with billions of dollars in revenue, we’ve certainly got the right mix of innovators taking on this challenge. Winning this prize is obviously going to be extremely difficult—if it weren’t, it wouldn’t be worthy of an X PRIZE—but after this session, I’m very confident that we will indeed award this prize.”

Each of the Google Lunar X PRIZE teams is striving to claim a share of the US $30 million prize purse money by becoming the first privately funded team to send a robot to the Moon that can travel 500 meters and transmit video, images and data back to the Earth. With the teams pursuing a wide variety of technical concepts, organizational structures, and business plans, the annual Team Summits provide a unique opportunity for teams to share lessons and to identify areas of common interest in the emerging commercial lunar exploration industry.

Teams CEOs and technical leaders were also able to meet with leading industry experts from Barclays Wealth, Cains Law Firm, AON Global Insurance Managers, and the Futron Corporation as part of Space Isle’s commitment to fostering space industry’s “Freedom to Flourish”. Technical tours of Manx Telecom and CVI Melles Griot were featured in the Summit schedule. The teams also presented updates on their missions that outlined design and engineering configurations of their lunar robots.

The Isle of Man’s Minister for Economic Development, Allan Bell MHK, commented, “It was a great honor for the Isle of Man to host the Google Lunar X PRIZE Team Summit. The Isle of Man’s commitment to ‘Freedom to Flourish’ has been shown to be successful in the space sector on the Island. Through its innovative approach to commercial government relations it has been able to become a jurisdiction of choice for not just for space but for many others.”

The event was timed to take place during World Space Week, the world-wide celebration of space exploration’s role in the betterment of the human condition. To further that goal, Summit attendees visited nearby Ballakermeen High School to speak with over 100 students from six high schools. The students asked questions of the team leaders about potential careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and how they might get involved in the new era of lunar exploration. Summit attendees also met with members of the Isle of Man Astronomical Society and with members of the Space Industry Group.

Tim Craine, Director of the Economic Development Agency of the Isle of Man said, “This event was a tremendous success for the Google Lunar X PRIZE people and for the Isle of Man. International cooperation, such as this, will only enhance the achievements that these teams undertake to reach the Moon.”

ABOUT THE ISLE OF MAN

The Isle of Man is situated in the Irish Sea and is an internally self-governing dependent territory of the British Crown, not part of the United Kingdom. The Island has a competitive tax regime where business benefits from a committed workforce, professional expertise, a supportive and responsive government, world class telecoms infrastructure and sound financial regulation. The Isle of Man is a quality jurisdiction committed to developing a vibrant and diverse space industry. It is an active player in the traditional and emerging space sectors with an impressive track record already as evidenced those who operate there. It is open for further business to quality operators wishing to relocate or set up subsidiaries and welcomes the opportunity to speak to businesses to see how the Isle of Man can help and add value. The Government and private sector enjoy a close working relationship giving business Freedom to Flourish. For further information, please visit http://www.spaceisle.com.

ABOUT THE X PRIZE FOUNDATION

Founded in 1995, the X PRIZE Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization solving the world’s greatest challenges. The Foundation creates and manages large-scale, high-profile incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development worth far more than the prize itself. The organization motivates and inspires brilliant innovators from all disciplines and socio-economic sectors to invest their intellectual and financial capital to solve the seemingly intractable challenges of our time. The X PRIZE Foundation conducts competitions in four Prize Groups: Education & Global Development; Energy & Environment; Life Sciences; and Exploration. To date, the Foundation has awarded the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for sending the world’s first private vehicle into space and back; and the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE for creating safe, affordable, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPG or energy equivalent (MPGe). Active prizes include the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, the $10 million Archon Genomics X PRIZE, and the $1.4 million Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE. For more information, visit www.xprize.org.

ABOUT THE GOOGLE LUNAR X PRIZE

The $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE is an unprecedented international competition that challenges and inspires engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. The $30 million prize purse is segmented into a $20 million Grand Prize, a $5 million Second Prize, and $5 million in bonus prizes. To win the Grand Prize, a team must successfully soft land a privately funded spacecraft on the Moon, explore the lunar surface by moving at least 500 meters, and transmit a specific set of video, images, and data back to the Earth. The Grand Prize is $20 million until December 31st, 2012; thereafter it will drop to $15 million until the prize expires on December 31st, 2014. For more information about the Google Lunar X PRIZE, please visit http://www.googlelunarxprize.org.

ABOUT THE WORLD SPACE WEEK ASSOCIATION

World Space Week Association (WSWA) is a non-government, nonprofit, international organization founded in 1981 and the proud partner of the United Nations in the global coordination of World Space Week – the largest public space event on Earth. Since 1999, World Space Week takes place every year on 4-10 October and celebrates at the international level “the contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition" (United Nations General Assembly). In 2009, WSW celebrated its 10th anniversary, with 713 events in some 55 nations. Currently, WSWA has more than 60 WSW National Coordinators. More details at http://www.worldspaceweek.org.

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