The Google-sponsored Lunar X Prize
has received plenty of attention. Similar to the original X Prize for a privately built manned spaceship, the focus of the Lunar X Prize is to get a privately built spaceship to the moon with a robot (so, unmanned), then have that robot travel 500 meters and then send video and images back to Earth. Cool, right? Of course, you can imagine that there would be numerous permits and licenses necessary before you could just privately blast something out into space (and onto the moon). However, an anonymous reader points us to an odd one. It appears that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is warning users they may need a special license from the NOAA
for any sort of remote sensor which establishes a sustained connection with Earth. In fact, some are warning
that any entrant in the contest that wants to take any
images of Earth needs to first get a license from the NOAA. While the NOAA points to the Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992
, it's not clear why
it makes sense that an entrant in such a contest should need a special license just to take photos.