So long, and thanks for all the Moonpies

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This morning I dropped into the office early. In case you missed it, we announced our 19th team in the Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the website needed some tweaking before pushing the pages live. It's exactly this type of moment that makes my job so exciting, and makes the Google Lunar X PRIZE such a riveting competition to watch and participate in. And it is precisely that reason that I am sad to be telling you - the community - that I will be leaving the X PRIZE Foundation.

I started at the X PRIZE just over a year ago. When I came onboard, the community was anything but that - a neglected wasteland of unpublished blog posts and forum trolls. We didn't have a Twitter account. We didn't have a Facebook page. We didn't really have much of anything going on web-wise, except for a select few of our teams who took the first steps into the kiddie pool of blogging.

All that has changed.

I am proud to say that the Google Lunar X PRIZE community is flourishing, vibrant, connected, and devoted. We have active groups on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. The Launch Pad, which we launched in July 2008, has over 900 subscribers (according to Feedburner), and traffic has been growing by leaps and bounds, especially after we implemented regular posting this year. Our teams have become extremely active on their own blogs and YouTube channels, and are now posting some truly fascinating content, ranging from video of their fully developed rover prototypes to launch system tests to business trials and tribulations.

There is, of course, one common thread in all of this, and it is you. Without the continued enthusiasm of our community members, none of this would be possible. We certainly wouldn't have ever been able to accomplish this, or this, or this, or this, or this. And we certainly never would have created memes like #LOLSpace or #Moonpie or #Remembering_Challenger.

I'll miss the sticker giveaways and the Friday Fundays. I'll miss the rockets flying in the New Mexico desert sun. I'll miss the competitive eating smackdowns and the bitter rivalries (OK, maybe not so bitter). I'll miss telling you all about the incredible new teams that are joining the competition, and watching as they risk everything for a shot at seeing the Moon. I'll miss having the ability to make an utter fool of myself on YouTube.

Most of all I'll miss you, the community.

So what does the future hold in store for me? Well, I'll be heading up a different kind of community. For those who don't know, before I was a space geek I was a music nut, and always have been. I'm finally heading to work at a major record label managing artist communities there. It's a fantastic opportunity, and I'm truly excited to be a part of it.

I'll be sticking around X PRIZE for the next two weeks to make sure we can transition smoothly. If you'd like to keep in touch, you can follow me on Twitter, though I can't promise that you won't find copious amounts of food photographs, LOLcats, and random musings on life.

To everyone who has made this possible, I thank you.
Ad luna!

Mike Fabio.
Associate, Google Liaison, Google Lunar X PRIZE.


P.S. I'm officially throwing down the gauntlet: before I leave, I demand a Moonpie eating competition with Will, Cariann, Ben, Blair, and James. Can we make that happen? Double decker only. With RC cola.

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