NASA, HeroX seek lunar power solutions

NASA, HeroX seek lunar power solutions

Up to $5 million in prizes to support sustained human presence on the moon.

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HeroX, the social network for innovation and a platform for crowdsourced solutions, has launched the prize competition "NASA's Watts on the Moon Challenge" on behalf of NASA. In support of the agency's Artemis program to land the first woman and the next man on the moon, NASA seeks to incentivize the development of robust energy solutions to power sustained human presence on the lunar surface.

Solar energy is abundant on the moon when the sun is out, but nights on the moon can last 350 hours. This long lunar night, combined with extreme temperature changes, makes solar power use complex. In this challenge, NASA is seeking energy management, distribution, and storage solutions to help sustain a long-term human presence on the moon. Some solutions proposed by teams might also be useful in addressing energy challenges on Earth, which might lead to commercial development here as well.

"We are again proud to partner with NASA to crowdsource ingenious solutions to interstellar problems," says Christian Cotichini, CEO of HeroX. "This has exciting implications for space exploration, and it could also improve life down here on Earth, in terms of renewable energy use and storage. As the saying goes, 'shoot for the Moon and you'll land among the stars.' Our talented team of problem solvers will be doing just that."

The Challenge: The Watts on the Moon Challenge will offer winning teams up to $5 million in total prizes. Participants may have the opportunity to develop and demonstrate their solutions at NASA facilities, and they may even have the opportunity to fly their solution to the moon.

The first phase of the challenge presents a mission scenario with three mission activities. Teams will choose one or more activities to address by proposing an energy distribution, management, and/or storage solution. Teams are eligible for a prize for each mission activity that they address.

The Prize: Prizes for Phase 1 will total up to $500,000. Up to three first place teams (one for each mission activity), as determined by the NASA judging panel, will be awarded $100,000 each. Up to four runner-up teams will receive up to $50,000 each.

Depending on the results of Phase 1, NASA may choose to proceed with a Phase 2 focused on developing prototype systems. Prizes for Phase 2, if it occurs, will total up to $4.5 million. Additional details about the number of winners and division of prizes in Phase 2 (including milestone prizes, if offered) will be included in the Phase 2 rules. Following the end of Phase 2, one or more teams may be invited to work with NASA to design and build flight-rated hardware for an operational demonstration on the lunar surface.

Eligibility to Compete and Win Prize(s): Individuals must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States and be 18 years of age or older. Organizations must be an entity incorporated in and maintaining a primary place of business in the United States (some restrictions apply).

To accept the challenge, visit https://www.herox.com/wattsonthemoon

The Phase 1 deadline is March 25, 2021.