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Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Artist's version of Moon Express' MX-1E lander on its way to the moon
Flying to the moon is a piece of cake.  It’s the take off and landing part that’s fraught with peril.  But the hazards of non-state moon exploring aren’t stopping five teams willing to join a DIY race to the moon.  So says our favorite space/tech writer Mike Wall from, who recently posted an update on the Google Lunar X Prize.
Google’s space prize is $30 million for the first team to reach the Moon.
            Google’s prize rekindles other media sponsored explorations of yore adding wonder to the latest chase: Is it a stunt or science?

From Mike Wall: “...The GLXP is offering $20 million to the first privately funded team that lands a spacecraft on the moon, moves the vehicle at least 1,640 feet (500 meters) on the lunar surface and has the craft beam high-resolution imagery back to Earth. The second team to do all this gets $5 million. An additional $5 million is available for various special accomplishments, bringing the total purse to $30 million.

“The prizes expire if they are not claimed by Dec. 31, 2017. The other teams in the running, in addition to Moon Express, are SpaceIL from Israel, Japan's Hakuto, India-based Team Indus and the international collaboration Synergy Moon...”


The Orteig Prize
Raymond Orteig emigrated to New York from France in 1912. He worked as a bus boy and cafe manager and eventually acquired two New York Hotels which were popular with French airmen assigned to duty in the United States during the Great War

PAID IN FULL—Raymond Orteig, a self-made millionaire hotelier offered a $25,000 prize to the first person to fly the Atlantic from New York to Paris—non-stop.  Charles Lindbergh accomplished that in 33 hours in 1927.  Orteig, true to his word, paid in full.
In 1919 Raymond Orteig offered a prize of $25,000 for the first nonstop aircraft flight between New York and Paris. By the mid 1920s, airplanes had finally developed enough to make such a flight possible. The first aviators to go for the prize paid with their lives. Others were still willing to take the chance and Roosevelt Field became their headquarters. Several famous aviators arrived at the field and the public followed their plans with intense interest. Then in May, 1927, a new plane quietly flew in from the west. An unknown, young, airmail pilot, Charles Lindbergh, had arrived.

At 7.52 am, May 20, 1927 a small single-engine aircraft took off from Roosevelt Field, Long Island. 33 hours later, on May 21st, the same aircraft landed at Le Bourget Airport, Paris. At the controls of the Ryan monoplane named Spirit of St Louis, a 25-year-old mail pilot, Captain Charles Lindbergh. On August 31, 1927 the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) ratified Lindbergh's performance as the new World Record for non-stop flight.

Pulitzer’s First Prize
Nellie Bly, 1890
Joseph Pulitzer bought the World in 1883 and began an aggressive era of circulation building. Reporter Nellie Bly became one of America's first investigative journalists, often working undercover.  In 1889, in a publicity stunt paid for by the New York World, and inspired by the Jules Verne novel Around the World in Eighty Days, reporter Bly traveled around the planet in 72 days in 1889-1890.

The Electric Car Race
Using eco-friendly vehicles the 2016 race was made up of 11 international teams vying with each other to drive the globe in all electric vehicles, mostly the Tesla variety.  They accomplished their goal last year.

ELECTRIC—In a stunt to promote electric cars positive impact on the globe, 80edays sponsored a drive around the world (electric cars only) in 80 days in mid-2016.  All 11 teams participating succeeded.


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