It’s one of the key questions of the global warming puzzle, and the X Foundation is stepping in to incentivize the scientific world to invent a good way to monitor ocean pH:
Scientists know this is killing coral reefs and dissolving the shells of marine animals, but the overall danger of ocean acidification is still poorly understood. To fix that, the X Prize Foundation announced a new bounty this week: $2 million for anyone who can figure out how to figure out what all this extra CO2 is doing to the pH of our planet’s oceans.Named the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health X Prize, the 22-month competition is scheduled to kick off in early 2014 and name its winner(s) in 2015. The $2 million jackpot is divided into two purses, which can be won separately or by the same team. The X Prize Foundation provides this description of the potential winnings on its website:
- Accuracy award ($750,000 first place, $250,000 second place): To the teams that navigate the entire competition to produce the most accurate, stable and precise pH sensors under a variety of tests.
- Affordability award ($750,000 first place, $250,000 second place): To the teams that produce the least expensive, easy-to-use, accurate, stable and precise pH sensors under a variety of tests.This is the latest of many such trophies from the X Prize Foundation, which launched in the 1990s with a $10 million contest aimed at spurring commercial space travel. (It was inspired by the Orteig Prize, a $25,000 jackpot won by aviator Charles Lindbergh when he flew across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927.) The original X Prize went to aerospace firm Scaled Composites in 2004, whose technology is now part of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip Two.