Tuesday, May 12, 2020

NASA Contest: Help Design Mini Moon Rovers By June 8

This is an image of the waxing crescent Moon taken in the 1980s by Francis G. Graham using the rather unique 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope at the original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center - Pittsburgh's science and technology museum from 1939 to 1991). Francis Graham, who founded the American Lunar Society, is now Professor Emeritus of Physics, Kent State University. (Image Source: Friends of the Zeiss)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Help provide ideas and suggestions for future Moon missions, in a NASA public prize competition. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is seeking suggestions for advancing science on the Moon through miniature payloads, possibly including mini-rovers (perhaps as small as a home Roomba® vacuum cleaner) that could explore the lunar surface. There are $160,000 in monetary prizes being offered.

The NASA news release states:

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, is running a public prize competition to design miniaturized payloads for future Moon missions. The “Honey, I Shrunk the NASA Payload” challenge is seeking instrument designs that could help support a sustained human lunar presence, demonstrate and advance the use of resources found on the Moon, and enable new science. Future exploration of the Moon and beyond will require tools of all shapes and sizes – from sweeping orbiters to the tiniest of rovers. In addition to current planned scientific rovers, NASA could one day send even smaller rovers to help scout the Moon’s surface. These tiny robots would provide mission flexibility and collect key information about the lunar surface, its resources and the environment. The data collected by these rovers would be helpful for future lunar endeavors and NASA’s Artemis program.

NASA is looking for ways to create a sustained presence on the Moon for astronauts. To do so, NASA needs to find the resources on the Moon that can be transformed to help keep people alive and help them perform their scientific mission, as re-supply missions from Earth would be very expensive. Needed resources, that could possibly be found and transformed from lunar resources, include breathable air, water for drinking and food production, building materials for shelter, rocket propellants, among other necessities.

NASA needs to find new ways to prospect, map, and determine the resources available on the Moon that can supply a small lunar base. NASA and JPL are seeking the public's help in creating new, miniaturized technologies to carry-out this project, which would support NASA's Artemis Program for exploration of the Moon by male and female astronauts.

Deadline for submissions: Monday, 2020 June 8 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 21:00 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

More information on NASA / JPL “Honey, I Shrunk the NASA Payload” challenge:
Link >>> https://www.herox.com/NASApayload

Challenge Guidelines: Link >>> https://www.herox.com/NASApayload/guidelines

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
              Tuesday, 2020 May 12.

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Glenn A. Walsh, Informal Science Educator & Communicator:
http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Formerly Trustee, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >

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