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September 14, 2007

Google Funds Moon Prize

Google has teamed up with the X-Prize Foundation to stimulate interest in an unmanned return to the moon.

The two are offering $20 million to the private company that manages to land a moon rover that can move 500m over the lunar surface and gather images and data. Second place gets $5 million and there is a $5 million bonus for any firm which manages to find water-ice or remnants of the Apollo landings (shades of conspiracy theory there, no?).

That's all well and good; everyone from my generation just said "Who cares?" What we're really interested in knowing is: what do Google shareholders think about their company giving $30-or-so million dollars away?

Sadly, it's unlikely that they have a good lawsuit against Google. Corporations are allowed to make charitable contributions and gifts to promote the public welfare or for scientific or educational purposes so long as the contributions are "reasonable" in light of the financial status of the corporation. So I guess the real question is: how many millions does Google have to give away before it's giving becomes unreasonable?


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 01:30 PM

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