Going on the Moon
Some time ago Google launched a space race to the moon with a $20 million prize. The requirements are that it should be a private team with as little government involved as possible. The catch is that the mission has to be a success before December 31, 2012 and the rover which would be launched has to travel 500 meters and send pictures and videos back to earth. The prize goes away after 2014, which is supposed to motivate the contestants to do it as fast as possible. I am sure that this competition will attract the brightest minds in the fields of robotics and engineering, and possibly even many amateurs hoping to make history. Currently, there are sixteen teams competing for the prize, as other two participants have withdrawn.