The bummer about owning 767s and G-Fives is you need somewhere to land them, preferably close to your office so you don’t have blow hours stuck in traffic with all the plebes. Thankfully, resourceful Google has already solved that problem–by cutting a deal with NASA to use the government’s private runway next door to the Silicon Valley Googleplex. And now Google has made the deal even more convenient, by signing a broader deal to rent 42 acres of NASA land for 40 years on which to build a new Googleplex.
The runway rights cost $1.3 million a year. NASA has thrown in the 42 acres for only an additional $3.66 million per year. The deal also includes other cool NASA-Google collaborations, such as:
the Planetary Content project, which develops software that makes it easier for scientists to publish planetary data via the Internet and led to Google Moon and the NASA “layer” on Google Earth; the Global Connection project, which enhances the “National Geographic” layer in Google; and the Disaster Response project, which develops prototype software tools to help improve first response to large-scale natural disasters. (Miguel Helft, NYT)
We gather that Larry and Sergey are way into space, and we confess to having a side interest in it, too. But would it be too far-fetched to suggest that Google’s space/NASA interest has been, well, piqued by the incentives that come with having a neighbour with hundreds of acres of unused pasture land and a spare 7,000-foot runway?