What can you tell us about the NASA ILDD program?
NASA's ILDD (Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data program) is a -GREAT- program NASA started in August 2010. Essentially, NASA realized that with the Google Lunar X PRIZE and other efforts, there are now a number of private companies who can sell NASA extremely valuable data about the Moon and about lunar costs at extremely inexpensive rates. These are data that NASA has never been able to purchase before, and which would cost NASA a great deal to acquire for itself. So, they put out this program which allows private companies to be paid for providing this data on a milestone basis. Six Google Lunar X PRIZE teams were selected from about a dozen applicants; these teams are already providing cool and unique data to NASA scientists and engineers.
It's a very low cost, very low risk, very high reward program for NASA. I absolutely applaud NASA for taking such a leadership role here--I know for a fact that other space agencies are monitoring ILDD and trying to figure out how they can play catch up and offer similar programs.
As you can tell, I'm pretty much a fanboy for this program. The only thing I don't like is the acronym!