I found myself reading about the X Prize (now the Ansari X Prize). This is the competition behind last year’s private space flight. Reading their history and mission pages is interesting. They’ve modeled the prize on the aviation prizes of the early 20th Century, which effectively drove the innovation leading to today’s aerospace industry.
These people are using the same model to drive the development of private space flight, and a number of other innovations. It’s really just quite cool.
“The mission of the X PRIZE Foundation is to cause radical breakthroughs in space and other technologies for the benefit of humanity.”
Their motto: Evolution through competition.
And from their Fact Sheet:
Space offers adventure
Space provides freedom- a frontier literally without end.
Space can save the Earth
A tiny fraction of the abundant solar energy that flows past the Earth could provide all of our planet’s power needs without greenhouse gasses or nuclear residue-forever. Beyond energy, space offers us unlimited access to the metals and minerals needed for technological expansion and new worlds for our use in developing future societies.
Space flight offers the ultimate personal challenge
Every one of the 500 men and women who have flown in space has said that it was the adventure of a lifetime. They report that viewing the world from higher than the highest mountain is a universally mind-altering experience.