Google to Conquer Moon, Microsoft Already Planning Hostile Takeover

CannonballRun.jpgIn what sounds like the plot of a '70s caper movie, the Chronicle reported today that Google is funding a competition to see who can get a robotic rover on the moon first. The contest is the brainchild of Google co-founder Sergey Brin and compatriots. "I was shocked at how this incredible space for human discovery was left absent" from private sector support, Brin said, adding, "If we are going to sponsor things, it should be for new discovery and in ambitious and unexpected ways." And what's better than just throwing some money at research? Holding a big ol' race with a cash prize. (click 'more')

The first team to land a moon rover takes home $20 million while the second gets $5 million. The contest assumes that one day the moon will be the "eighth continent", perhaps beaming solar power to the Earth. One contestant's assessment of this hypothesis: "That's the most outrageous idea I've heard in my life." Thus far, only ten teams have been selected for the competition, including one from Italy, but over 500 teams from 53 nations have expressed interest. Team name best suited for a sci-fi film? Team Quantum 3. Here's hoping these scientists aren't above some headline enlivening sabotage. We recommend setting competitor's clocks back and replacing important tools with bananas. –Andy Wright

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