It's no secret: Google loves space. The company sponsors the $US30 million Lunar X Prize and hosts radical, detailed maps of Mars and the Moon. Tiffany Montague oversees all of these projects, coordinating Google's effort to commercialise the cosmos.
Montague, a former Air Force reconnaissance pilot, is the subject of a profile by the NYT Bits blog today, which deems her Google's Space Commander, and she is unambiguous about Google's ambition, in collaboration with NASA, to move skyward:
At Google, we are cheerleaders of those guys [at NASA] ...We look at space like any other problem that Google attacks and say, ‘I think this should be a lot simpler.' We are outlandishly big thinkers. We are audacious.
The Google-sponsored Lunar X Prize, an ongoing competition offering $US20 million to the first team to land a robot on the moon, is one such effort; as of November, 21 teams were registered. Another of Montague's projects, according to the Times, is building a new fleet of Mars-mapping bots. But all of these projects, as the company isn't afraid to explain, are working toward Man's "next giant leap" into the final frontier. [NYT]