The only activity going on in space travel is in the private sector. A 30 million prize to inspire companies to land a robot on the moon is just what the doctor order. We have companies like SpaceX trying to commercialize space travel, but there isn't much going on in the way of science. I love it.
Yes, the Google Lunar X Prize is an important prize for those who compete in the competition. It is a prize that was started in 2007 and is slated to be awarded to the first team to land a robot on the moon. In addition to recognition, the prize is worth a great deal of money to the winner.
Yes, the Google Lunar X Prize is an important prize because it's a way to move technology forward. Lots of people are capable of creating impressive things. But sometimes it takes a person offering some money to get people motivated to actually put in the time to develop something new.
Although the government supported our space technology when it was in its infantile stage, the time for government action has passed. Private industry is better suited for exploration, and this Google Lunar X prize is just one of the many rewards for successfully making it happen. I expect to see more prizes for more difficult challenges after we go to the moon. Mars can't be far behind!