From Barcelona

For the last 48 hours, I've been in Barcelona, Spain, visiting the students of the International Space University's summer program. As a key component of their curriculum, the students are asked to spend the final several weeks of the program working on an interdisciplinary group research project; and this year, one of the three research projects focuses on the Google Lunar X PRIZE. (For the curious, the other two focus on space ports and on the study of volcanoes from space).

30 students, hailing from 20 different countries, and coming from a wide variety of educational and professional backgrounds, are hard at work on the project. Together with Tiffany Montague, our primary counterpart at Google, I was there both to answer questions for the students and to provide some suggestions as to what they should focus on in their report. Unlike many other universities which assign the Google Lunar X PRIZE as a design project, these students are not studying concepts for winning the prize, but rather studying the prize itself. Their final report will touch on everything from anticipated future markets for competing teams to important regulatory and ethical issues relevant to commercial lunar exploration to suggestions for improved outreach both by the Foundation and by the competing teams.

Barcelona is one of my favorite cities, but I must admit that I wasn't too sad that the students kept me so busy that I didn't have time for sight-seeing!

I'm eagerly looking forward to the students' final presentation and report. Their final presentation should be webcast (on August 28th) and their final report should appear online: we'll be sure to provide links to each here on the Launch Pad. In the meantime, I am going to try to ask some of the students to guest-blog about the project here as they continue to work on it.

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