Earlier this month NASA announced a challenge to the public. It seeks creative and innovative minds that can come up with the clever plan and even more clever technology that will enable astronauts to live like self-sufficient pioneers on Mars.
To get in on the action, you need to familiarize yourself with the scope of natural resources on Mars. Once you have a firm grasp on the raw materials and their capabilities, get to the drawing board and design a structure from those materials. First place wins $10,000. How awesome is that? What a wonderful opportunity for some public schools, who are always in need of additional funding, to motivate students to tackle the STEM subjects with gusto!
Truly NASA is committed to talented minds all around the globe as much as they are committed to their mission of exploration. Despite all the glory and prestige that is attached to the NASA brand, the agency recognizes that their efforts will most certainly be enhanced by the skills and brainstorms of any who share their dream and have something to contribute. They open the door to all with such challenges.
The goal to achieve with the technological development this challenge could potentially lead to is to shave off the launch budget about $100,000 for every two pounds of cargo by discovering how to use raw materials on Mars for construction rather than having to pack these materials for delivery here on Earth. This precious space can also be dedicated to other critical supplies for survival that absolutely cannot be found or replicated on the Red Planet.
Solving this problem will not just be for the benefit of a Martian exploration mission. This solution can be adapted and used on other missions as a successful mission on Mars opens the door to deep space exploration.
So, if you or someone you know is a science fiction fanatic or a creative innovator or a science geek, the gringa says, “Give them a poke in the ribs and a heads up! Tell them they need to design a shelter out of Martian soil and rocks.” Encourage them to visit the website setup for the challenge and submit an application: http://go.nasa.gov/1L4MSP6. I mean, really, what have they got to lose? Nothing! And, Mars to gain! What’s not to love about that? How could that NOT motivate a person!
And, if dirt and buildings are not their thing, if you know a fashionista who also has a talent with number-crunching, why not direct them to NASA’s textile challenge? Although the Z-2 design is pretty much a done deal, there are still all sorts of details to hammer out, like:
- Abrasion Testing of Candidate Outer Layer Fabrics for Lunar EVA Space Suits (PDF)
- Phase VI Durability Testing (PDF)
- Electron Microscopy Abrasion Analysis (PDF)
Direct any up and coming dressmakers, wool weavers and the like to the following link and I know their creative curiosity will get the best of them and they will just have to click!
NASA is preparing methods and procedures to properly test the design of the Mars spacesuit and they need some textile experts to help them with this critical job. What a thing to put on a resume when applying at the Yves Saint Laurent fashion house, “First Prize Winner of NASA Textile Challenge”. You know with something like that you’re guaranteed a second interview at the very least!
Source & Photo Credit: www.nasa.gov