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Copyright © 1993-2002 The Condé Nast Publications Inc. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 1994-2002 Wired Digital, Inc. All rights reserved.

Issue 11.07 - July 2003
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The Right Stuff (continued)

Techies Go Trekky
Today's captains of the high tech industry grew up viewing space as the final frontier - only to see NASA grow meek once the Cold War fizzled. Now older and richer, they're ready to boldly go after their galactic ambitions.
by Dustin Goot

Allen: NewsCom
Allen: NewsCom
NAME: John Carmack
TECH GIG: cofounder, id Software (Doom, Quake)
SPACE OBESSION: Carmack is team leader of Armadillo Aerospace, a space tourism venture considered to be a leading contender for the X Prize.
MOTIVATION: "For me the draw is that manned spaceflight is an interesting engineering problem. There are very few fields where the difference between what is currently possible and what is currently practiced is so large as in aerospace."

Allen: NewsCom
Allen: NewsCom
NAME: Elon Musk
TECH GIG: creator, PayPal
SPACE OBESSION: With a new company called SpaceX, Musk hopes to halve the cost of launching payloads - like satellites - into orbit.
MOTIVATION: "The US space program peaked with Apollo and going to the moon. In 30 years we have never surpassed that peak. People who know the vehicle launch industry are intrigued by what we're doing."

Allen: NewsCom
Allen: NewsCom
NAME: Paul Allen
TECH GIG: cofounder, Microsoft
SPACE OBESSION: Through his charity foundation, Allen donated $11.5 million to SETI for a telescope array designed to listen for alien murmurings; he's also rumored to be financing Rutan's X Prize venture.
MOTIVATION: "For the first time in our history, we have the ability to pursue a scientifically and technologically sophisticated search for intelligent life beyond Earth. I am pleased to support this important work."

Allen: NewsCom
Allen: NewsCom
NAME: Bill Gross
TECH GIG: founder, idealab! (dotcom-era incubator)
SPACE OBESSION: Before it went defunct in 2001, his brainchild Blastoff.com was working to send a rover to the moon; the drive to reach orbit remains strong.
MOTIVATION: "We could be striving forward and putting people on the moon ... or on Mars," Gross told Blastoff colleague Chris Simmons, who added that Gross wanted to "give the space program a kick in the butt."

Allen: NewsCom
Allen: NewsCom
NAME: Eric Klien
TECH GIG: president, Colossus (webhosting service)
SPACE OBESSION: Klien has founded a nonprofit called the Lifeboat Foundation, dedicated to building "space arks" capable of supporting 1,000-member human colonies.
MOTIVATION: "Advanced technologies thought to be available by about 2020 may enable one evil - or simply clumsy - person to destroy all life on Earth. My goal is to develop an insurance policy."

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Copyright © 1993-2002 The Condé Nast Publications Inc. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 1994-2002 Wired Digital, Inc. All rights reserved.