An anonymous reader writes: The final contract to engineer the rocket that will send astronauts back to the Moon by 2020 was awarded to Boeing today, but NASA announced that its brains will be open for development from many contractors and hopefully even garage tinkerers.
From the article: "NASA's Constellation program, which aims to return humans to the moon by 2020, will use the Ares I rocket to launch Orion into orbit. A larger Ares V rocket, which will be developed based on the Ares I design beginning early in the next decade, will rendezvous with Orion in orbit and provide the extra units needed to escape Earth's orbit. But that doesn't mean that Boeing can count on billions of dollars of contracts for the Ares V, noted Ares project manager Steve Cook. The specifications for the Ares I design are 'open-source and non-proprietary,' he said, ensuring that future contracts will have full competition."
Given how this chart shows the increasing amount of international competition for reaching deeper into space over the past decade, NASA could probably use all the help it can get...Link to Original Source