Why a Prize Fund

Why a Prize Fund

We have had the technology to go to Mars for decades now. The only thing that is lacking is funding. This is what the Mars Prize fund will provide. Our goal is for one million people to subscribe at least $2 per month. That equals $2 million per month, and $24 million per year. Though challenging, most will agree that this is an achievable goal. With enough people on board as a subscriber, this amount of money coming in regularly, the first humans to land on Mars will inevitably soon follow. Together we can build the fund to the size it needs to be to incentivize the first Mars mission.

History of Prize Incentives

Prizes have a long and successful history of incentivizing technological innovation and progress.

In 1913, the Daily Mail, a London newspaper, offered a £10,000 prize to the first person to fly across the Atlantic in one plane in less than 72 hours. Only 6 years later in 1919, a team of British aviators accomplished the feat and won the prize.

The Orteig Prize was a $25,000 reward ($340,067 in 2014 dollars) offered on May 19, 1919 by New York hotel owner Raymond Orteig to the first allied aviator(s) to fly non-stop from New York City to Paris or vice-versa. Relatively unknown American Charles Lindbergh won the prize in 1927 in his aircraft Spirit of St. Louis. Lindbergh’s flight was followed by the “Lindbergh boom”, as public interest in air travel bloomed and aviation stocks skyrocketed. The Orteig Prize occasioned investments many times the value of the prize, advancing public interest and launched the aviation industry as we know it today.

In 1996, the X Prize Foundation offered a $10 million prize for the first non-government organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks. Just 8 years later, SpaceShipOne accomplished this feat and won the prize, and more than $100 million was invested worldwide in new technologies in pursuit of the prize, which led to the establishment of many new private space companies manufacturing reusable space vehicles and kicked off the private space race.

More recently, in 2007 Google sponsored the Lunar X Prize, a $30 million prize for the first organization that could land a robotic spacecraft on the Moon, travel at least 500 meters, and return high definition photos from the surface. The deadline was extended twice in 2015 and 2017, and in 2018 the financial prize was terminated without a monetary award. However, five teams have secured launch contracts and the non-prize competition remains alive. Although no prize will be awarded, the potential prize did spur the creation of several innovative designs, and several teams and companies have been formed that remain in place today.

Mars Initiative is a non-profit organization, 501(c)3. We are comprised entirely of volunteers from around the world who donate their time and expertise. 100% of the money we receive will be awarded to the first entity that lands humans on Mars.

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