Congress Promotes Prize Competitions to Award Research Funds

A decade ago, the prospect of a $10-million prize to build a commercial spacecraft triggered more than $100-million in research investment and helped start the nation’s private space-launch industry.

One question left behind on Earth: Was the X-Prize concept a gimmick? Or a new model for financing scientific exploration?

As Congress hunts for ways to stretch taxpayer dollars, some lawmakers believe it’s the latter. Legislation moving through the U.S. House of