Today’s Wall Street Journal has terrific coverage of William “Red” Whittaker, who with a team of students from Carnegie Mellon is competing for the $20 million Google Lunar X Prize, which will go to the first privately funded team able to get a robot to reach the moon, travel 500 meters and flash data back to the Earth.

Whittaker, who graduated from Princeton in 1973 with a degree in civil engineering, says he has a “very robot-centric view of the universe.” Robots he has created have “crawled into mines and volcanoes, crossed deserts, won a 60-mile road race, helped clean up nuclear waste and harvested alfalfa.”

The Journal portrays Whittaker as a risk-taker — he once wrestled an ape at a carnival — who prefers to undertake projects that  “border on the unachievable.” You can watch a video interview with Whittaker, see a slideshow about the spacecraft his team is building to launch the robot, and read the full article  here.