On April 1, Dr. Peter Diamandis came to Penn State as part of Penn State's inaugural "Shaping the Future" Summit. The theme this year was "The Impact of Innovation".
Dr. Diamandis spend an hour with the Lunar Lion team, where he told us about his own experience attempting a private moon mission. For those of you who don't know, Peter was CEO of a company called "Blastoff!", which was a sort of predecessor to the GLXP. They were going to send a privately funded lander to the Moon, and they were going to raise funds for and interest in their project by offering the opportunity for countries to send their flag to the Moon with the lander. It was a really neat idea, but it unfortunately came to an end in 2001 when the dot-com bubble burst. It was great for the students to hear from someone as successful as Peter about what he learned from "Blastoff!" and what we could do to win the GLXP.
Later that night, Peter gave his keynote speech to a room full of interested students. He focused mostly on the XPRIZE Foundation and the reasons for why he'd done it. After telling the incredible story of the Ansari XPRIZE and how it'd come to be, he moved on to our favorite XPRIZE: The Google Lunar XPRIZE. The first slide he showed had the logos of all the teams that had entered the competition, except for one: ours. The Penn State Lunar Lion logo wasn't even up there. We couldn't believe it. Of all the logos to forget at a presentation in front of Penn State, he forgot ours.
Then, the reveal: Peter went to the next slide, and filling the entire screen was the Lunar Lion logo. He'd set aside an entire slide just for us! Peter then went on to tell the entire audience about the talent and the potential that our team has, and said that the entire Penn State community needs to get behind us if they want to see us succeed. It was an unexpected endorsement in front of a large crowd, and we were honored that Peter would speak so highly of us.
What an incredible experience for our students! It really inspired us to push through any difficulties we come across and to keep pursuing our dreams. For the Lunar Lions, Dr. Diamandis is a hero, and we were honored to have the chance to meet him.