Bangalore: X Prize Foundation, an organization that has popularized private spaceflight with its international competitions, will open a lab in India in a year, its first outside the US.
The Tata group is assisting the foundatin in identifying a university in India to host the lab, said X Prize Foundation chairman and chief executive officer Peter H. Diamandis.
“Our mission is to bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity,” he said.
Diamandis was in Bangalore for a conference on innovation by UK’s BT Group Plc.
Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata group, is on the board of X Prize. The foundation currently has one lab at the Massachuesetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, in the US.
X Prize was started in 2002 to encourage space research by holding contests and offering as much as $30 million (Rs144.3 crore) in prize money for teams that could prove radical ideas such as a reusable manned spacecraft.
It has since expanded its scope to genomics, fuel efficient cars and lifesciences.
Internet firm Google Inc. sponsors the foundation’s Lunar X Prize, a mission to land a private rover on the moon. “This is the Apollo programme of the YouTube generation,” said Diamandis.
Tata Motors Ltd is also participating in an X Prize contest to build a car that is environment friendly, cost-effective and gives 100 miles per gallon of fuel, he said.
X Prize will soon hold global contests to explore the ocean—because only 5% of the seafloor is scanned by humans, tuberculosis diagnostics, brain-computer interface, and an artificial intelligence physician.