According to Personal SpaceFlight, today the X-Prize foundation and Google are teaming up to start a Lunar X-Prize. I can’t wait, and expect it to be claimed in about, hmm…5-7 years, based solely on the progress of SpaceX and Armadillo Aerospace. Why am I so optimistic when neither company has a successful rocket in space yet? If you pay attention to their methodologies, both are working on mass production and scalable systems, and starting small. Once they get the bugs out of their single systems, they will be able to scale to whatever size they want very quickly, and quite cheaply. Going to the moon with an X-Prize of $30 million (the likely amount) would actually be profitable for either of those companies just a couple years down the road, where all of the current prizes and the initial X-Prize only recouped some of the costs of development.