From Space to Energy: Changing the World. For Good.
published: June 29, 2011, recorded: October 2005, views: 2010
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What does it take to achieve the impossible? The lure of a lucrative payoff or of worldwide fame, and a talented team who simply say, “Enough is enough, we’re going to change things.” That’s the perspective of Diamandis and the X Prize Foundation, whose original $10-million award went to Bert Rutan’s SpaceShipOne, which on October 4, 2004, became the first private manned spacecraft to exceed an altitude of 100 km twice in as many weeks. The X Prize Foundation’s goal is to make space flight a near-commonplace human activity. NASA’s current costs to launch each shuttle run $1 billion. Diamandis imagines it should cost “100 bucks per person in the future on a space elevator, or through some breakthroughs in physics.” Commercial ventures will help drive this revolution -- whether they are rides on the Soyuz craft, or the acquisition of vast mineral resources in space. A small asteroid, Diamandis notes, is worth “20 trillion dollars in the platinum group metal marketplace”.
While the X Prize Foundation believes “human destiny is in space,” it also aims to achieve comparable breakthroughs on earth, deploying cash rewards and generating an international buzz around conquering such global problems as the environment and energy. You put up a prize to get “unconstrained thinking,” says Diamandis, and you create inspiration and hope, as people “risk everything for something they believe in.”
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