Once per year, representatives of the Google Lunar X PRIZE teams and the X PRIZE Foundation meet in person to discuss the competition. The GLXP has teams (and teammembers) heralding from across the globe -- now in more than 70 different countries -- so the annual team summit is a fantastic opportunity to build up the competitive spirit and camaraderie that is generated by teams involved in large, incentivized competitions such as the Google Lunar X PRIZE.
The setting for the 4th GLXP Team Summit was the Isle of Man -- not only the home of Manx cats, but also a country that has invested in the space industry and was recently ranked as the 5th nation most likely to land the next person on the Moon (ranked behind the U.S., China, Russia, and India). The Isle of Man was extremely welcoming and accommodating for the event, and we cannot thank them enough for their generosity in hosting this Team Summit.
Day 0 of the summit included a welcome reception for the 13 teams in attendance, which was a wonderful opportunity to say hello to old friends and greet new ones (we have several new teams since the last summit). Welcome gifts from the Isle of Man included stuffed Manx cats and Lego spacemen, much to the delight and humor (humour?) of most teams.
After a quick welcome, many retreated to their hotels to rest before the action-packed Day 1 of the summit...
After the MTA discussions, lunch was served as we heard from Michael Simpson of the International Space University, and Chris Boshuizen of NASA Ames Research Center, who is creating a Droid "PhoneSat". After finishing lunch, team members hopped on a bus to a local high school to share the Google Lunar X PRIZE story with students. The youth were inspired and excited by the prize and the teams, and some now even have ambitions to join!
The remainder of the afternoon was reserved for presentations from each team -- a new element of the Team Summit that was added by popular request from the teams themselves. This was a fascinating session where teams discussed everything from media strategy to rover mobility to launch providers. A few points from the talks were posted with the hashtag #GLXPsummit on Twitter.
After the session concluded, we hopped on a double-decker bus and spent the (rainy) evening at the lovely Castle Rushen.
The weather spoiled plans for a star party on the roof, but the castle was very still very impressive and everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. Some of us were slightly disturbed by the odd wood figures scattered throughout the castle ;)
Day 2 started early with technical tours to ManSat, Manx Telecom, and an optics lab. Post-tour, experts in banking, insurance, public relations, & marketing presented to the teams. We concluded with a discussion of online media and an open discussion with the teams about marketing themselves and the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition.
It was a very busy two days, but also very productive and useful. Face-to-face interaction between the X PRIZE, Google, and the team members is essential in creating a competition that runs smoothly and works favorably for the teams, no matter where they are based in the world. Plus, it's just really great to spend time with the entrepreneurial minds that make up each team (I should also mention that I met the person that runs beefjerky.com, but that's a story for another time). Overall, the Summit was a great success and we look forward to the next time that we all meet again!