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Thu, Oct 21, 2010

Lunar Entrepreneurs Converge On Isle Of Man For Google Lunar X PRIZE Summit

Teams Vying For The $30 Million Come Closer To Achieving Mission

The Isle of Man Government hosted entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world last week for the 4th annual Google Lunar X PRIZE Team Summit. The X PRIZE Foundation 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."

FMI; www.spaceisle.com, www.googlelunarxprize.org

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