Thursday, September 13, 2007

google wants to pay you to go to the moon

$30 million can be yours if you can be the first to land a robot rover on the Moon. This was the big X Prize announcement at NextFest today. What made it for me was the appearance of Buzz Aldrin.

Shaking the hand of someone who walked on the moon felt pretty much like shaking the hand of anyone, only this hand had been on the moon. Aldrin was cordial, and even entertained my question about whether or not it was all a hoax.

OK, that's not true. Not the part about him being cordial, that was true, I didn't ask him about faking the moon landing. (He didn't strike me as being a very good actor anyway.) Instead, I tried to make small talk and show him just how much we had in common.

Fortunately, I had my Young Astronaut membership card on me.He didn't seem impressed.

A good friend of mine happens to be an aerospace engineer slogging toward his PhD. I keep telling him to join one of these space race startups, but he insists that finishing his degree is his top priority right now. And he has a point, his name is Huu. Having that PhD would indeed allow people (like me) to call him Dr. Huu.

Some things are better than landing on the moon.