The X-Prize is Just The Beginning

By on October 5, 2004 is reporting that Peter Diamandis, who brought us the X-Prize, plans to continue the program on an annual basis to keep innovators innovating. It will now be known as the X Prize Cup:

The first X Prize Cup will be held in 2005-06 at New Mexico’s White Sands Missile Range, a vast military installation. It will then move to an area 30 miles north of Las Cruces, where a facility dubbed the Southwest Regional Spaceport will be built.

Teams will compete in five different categories to win the overall cup: Fastest turnaround time between the first launch and second landing, maximum number of passengers per launch, total number of passengers during the competition, maximum altitude and fastest flight time.

So flying 62 miles high twice in two weeks was only the first step. Maybe in a few years (or decades) there might be a billion dollar cash prize for going to Jupiter and back. Maybe after that, light-speed travel? Who knows?

And it makes me wonder what other fields of endeavor could benefit from a fat cash prize like this. A cure for the common cold? Cheaper, cleaner ground transportation? Anti-gravity? Artificial intelligence? Web code that works consistently in every browser? What do you think?

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