X-Prize founder Peter Diamandis kicked off the PopTech conference here with a lofty goal on Thursday: “Our mission is to bring about radical breakthroughs,” he said in his opening-day address.

Technology’s impact on people across the globe results in some “grand challenges,” the theme of this year’s PopTech, and those were certainly not in short supply during the first two days of the event.

How do we spur the invention of a 200-mpg car or promote genome sequencing for $1000 or less? How do societies contend with the accumulation of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere, the accompanying global warming and the rapid acidification of the world’s oceans? How can the media be transformed into a forum where scientific discovery is heralded as it was during the Apollo program’s glory days?

Perhaps the biggest hurdle-clearing solution offered up came from Diamandis, whose recent announcement of a NASCAR-like Rocket Racing League intends to spark America’s love of spaceflight anew.

Those “radical breakthroughs” Diamandis hopes to incite may come from a new generation of X-Prizes Diamandis’ organization is now putting together. “The X-Prize worked, and it worked so well that we have decided to build the X-Prize Foundation beyond space into other prize areas,” he said.

By Mark Anderson

More here.