NASA has just opened a challenge looking for ways to go to Mars and back with a minimum of spilled materials.
The agency's tournament lab, along with crowdsourcing platform HeroX, has launched a "Waste to Base" challenge looking for ideas to recycle waste, waste, carbon dioxide and foam packaging materials during a two- to three-year Red Planet mission.
Competitors have until March 15 to take part in the challenge, and several prizes of up to $ 1,000 each will be awarded for new ideas out of a total wallet of $ 24,000. The winner must be announced by April 22, according to the challenge's website.
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"This challenge is about finding ways to convert waste into basic materials and other useful things, such as propellant or raw material for 3D printing," the website states.
"The challenge is to look for your ideas on how to turn different waste streams into propellant and into useful materials, which can then be made into necessary things and cycled through several times. Although a perfectly efficient cycle is unlikely, ideal solutions will result in little or no waste. "
Complete eligibility requirements are available on the competition website; In general, anyone in the world who is 18 years of age or older can participate individually or as a team as long as their jurisdiction is not under U.S. federal sanctions, HeroX said.
The winning ideas are expected to be put in a white paper as "part of the roadmap for future technology development work" for NASA's logistics reduction project, which works on topics such as new spacecraft and future settlements, the challenge said.
While NASA has not yet set a fixed timeline for putting humans on Mars, the agency has in recent years speculated that it may be able to reach there by the mid-2030s. In the short term, the agency hopes to put Artemis astronauts on the moon by the mid-2020s. Moon missions can help inform the design for future Mars missions.