NASA Seeks BIG Ideas from Universities to Solve a Messy Moon Problem

Dusty Lunar Landscape

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A dirty lunar landscape, as pictured by NASA’s Advanced Concepts Laboratory. Credit: NASA

NASA is connecting to college student to assist resolve the issue of lunar dust as the firm prepares for sustainable human expedition of the Moon under the Artemis program.

Lunar dust is mainly made from little particles that stay with almost whatever. It’s abrasive and can harm things, consisting of spacesuits, devices, spacecraft, and environments. Dust can obscure electronic camera lenses, lower innovation efficiency, misshape instrument readings, modify thermal homes, and even trigger devices failures. Additionally, if dust enters into environments, glass-like dust particles can lodge in astronauts’ lungs, producing health dangers. Removing lunar dust from where it’s not expected to be – or stopping it from arriving in the very first location – is necessary for future area expedition.

Through its yearly Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-altering (BIG) Idea Challenge, NASA is trying to find a large range of innovative options from institution of higher learning trainees on the style of lunar dust mitigation. Categories under the style consist of dust avoidance and mitigation throughout landings, spacesuit dust tolerance, outside dust tidy up, and managing lunar dust within environments. Competition judges will pick in between 5 and 10 groups to get approximately $180,000 each to develop, test, and show robust lunar dust mitigation, or dust tolerant abilities and innovations.

“This competition gives students an unparalleled opportunity as members of the Artemis generation to help overcome the historically challenging technical obstacles of mitigating lunar dust,” stated Niki Werkheiser, NASA’s Game Changing Development program executive within the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). “Proving a readiness to provide meaningful technical solutions to support near-term lunar missions is key, because NASA may be interested in including all or part of viable concepts into a future space mission.”

The 2021 BIG Idea Challenge is open to groups of in between 5 and 25 undergraduate and college students from recognized U.S.-based institution of higher learnings associated with their state’s Space Grant Consortium or partnered with an associated school, consisting of Minority Serving Institutions. Teams are likewise motivated to team up with market partners.

“We know our nation’s colleges and universities provide a reservoir of student talent and creativity that brings new perspectives and solutions to NASA,” stated Mike Kincaid, associate administrator of NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement. “We hope to cultivate innovative ideas from diverse teams of students, and we are thrilled to continue fostering student contributions to NASA’s mission and work via Space Grant universities, especially as students across the country face many uncertainties.”

“We’ve designed this challenge so that teams have minimal constraints to create genuine out-of-the-box solutions,” stated Drew Hope, Game Changing Development program supervisor at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. “Dealing with lunar dust will require incredibly creative and innovative approaches and collaborating with the Artemis generation through the BIG Idea Challenge is a strategic effort to fuel that type of innovation.” 

Interested and qualified groups ought to send their notification of intent by September 25, 2020. Proposal and video submissions are due by December 13, 2020. Finalist groups will be welcomed to provide their options to a panel of subject professionals from the firm and market at the 2021 BIG Idea Forum, prepared for November 2021.

The 2021 BIG Idea Challenge is sponsored by NASA through a cooperation in between STMD’s Game Changing Development program and the Office of STEM Engagement’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Project (Space Grant). The difficulty is handled by the National Institute of Aerospace.

For more details about the difficulty, consisting of complete style standards and restraints, appropriate resources, and information on how to use, go to:

NASA’s BIG Idea Challenge

For more details on NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Project, go to: