Using Prizes to Encourage Exploration
Since the age of 9 it's been my mission to get all of you to space. I'm also passionate about radical breakthroughs.
He thinks it's a moral imperative to open up the space frontier.
Exploration is the weakest motivator for going to space.
A great motivator is wealth-the first trillionaires will be made in space. An average asteroid 0.5 km wide is worth 20 trillion dollars in platinum group metals.
Fear is another motivator. We've been pummeled over the years by asteroids.
We finally have the ability to take the human race off the planet. It is our moral imperative to back up the culture of the human race off our biosphere.
Nothing is impossible.
The cost of space has gone up in the last 40 years, reliability has gone down.
Once you're in space, you're 2/3 the way to anywhere.
In raw energy costs, it costs $100 to get a person to orbit (accelerating them to 17,500 mph at 200 km, using back-of-envelope basic physics). We're trying to get our $20 million to $100.
X Prize was fixed cost engineering. Teams spent between $25 mil and $100 mil to win a $10 mil prize. 27 teams pursued it.
Now, as consequence of Rutan winning X Prize, working with NASA to do centennial challenge prizes to build space elevators, or mine asteroids.
Follow-on competition: X Prize Cup. This is an annual competitionâ€ the America's cup of space. People try to win specific prizes, for example altitude, time to climb, coolest looking, turn around time ,down range. This will be every year in New Mexico. Will be Oct 21 and 22 of 2006.
Now introducing Zero G: zerogravity.com. Is commercial weightless flights. Have done 50 flights. Flown 1200 people into weightlessness. Will be operating out of Vegas shortly (Florida now). Plan is that it's capturing the customers that will want to go into space. These are the potential space tourists.
New project: Rocket racing league. Building 10 new vehicles.
Our history of taking no risk in human spaceflight is killing innovation there.
New mission of the X prize foundation: Create radical breakthroughs.
The plan is to get money from sponsors based on the publicity they'll get. They consider it a 500:1 investment-You don't have to pay for the sponsorship until it works.
I imagine in the future we will have 100 million prizes for the big thing. Not only in space, but in energy-on the verge of announcing one to rework the automobile industry. There's one on the environment, nanotechnology, genetics, medicine (sequence individual DNA), education.
The X Prize foundation will not just be for space anymore.
Backed up by Larry Page from Google, Craig Venter, etc.
The way to attack the grand challenges of our time is to take risk, offer prizes. We are killing ourselves in our inability to take risk. This is the most critical tool for solving Humanity's Grand Challenges is the committed, passionate human mind.