NASA The university is reaching out to students to help solve the moon dust problem as the agency plans for a permanent human exploration of the moon under the Artemis program.
Lunar dust is mostly made up of small particles that tell about everything. It is abrasive and can damage things including spacesuits, equipment, spacecraft, and housing. Dust can obscure camera lenses, degrade technology performance, distort instrument readings, alter thermal properties, and even cause equipment failures. Additionally, if dust moves into the habitats, dust particles such as glass can pass into the lungs of astronauts, posing a health risk. Removing lunar dust from a place where it is not considered – or preventing it from getting there in the first place – is essential for future space exploration.
Through its annual Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-Changing (BIG) Idea Challenge, NASA is exploring a wide range of creative solutions from college and university students on the subject of lunar dust mitigation. The categories under the topic include dust prevention and mitigation during landing, tolerance of spacesuit dust, cleaning of external dust, and controlling lunar dust within the habitat. Competition judges will choose between five and 10 teams to build, test and demonstrate strong lunar dust mitigation, or dust tolerant capabilities and technologies, up to $ 180,000 each.
Nikki Verkhizer, NASA’s Game Changing Development Program executive within the Directorate of Space Technology (STMD), said, “This competition gives students a historic opportunity as members of the Artemis generation, a historically challenging technology to reduce lunar dust Help overcome obstacles. ” “It is important to prove a readiness to provide meaningful technical solutions to support nearby lunar missions, as NASA may be interested in incorporating all or part of feasible concepts into future space missions.”
The 2021 Big Idea Challenge is open to teams from accredited US-based colleges and universities affiliated with their university’s Space Grant Consortium of five or 25 and undergraduate and graduate students or partnered with an affiliated school, including minority service institutions . Teams are also encouraged to collaborate with industry partners.
“We know that the colleges and universities in our country have provided a storehouse of student talent and creativity that brings new perspectives and solutions to NASA,” said Mike Kincade, Associate Administrator of NASA’s STEM office. “We expect diverse teams of students to cultivate innovative ideas, and we are thrilled to continue to contribute to NASA’s mission and student contributions to work through the University of Space Grant, particularly around the country Students face many uncertainties. ”
“We’ve designed this challenge so that teams have the least barriers to creating a real out-of-the-box solution,” Drew Hope, the game’s changing development program manager at NASA’s Hampton, Virginia. “Dealing with lunar dust will require an incredibly creative and innovative approach and collaborating with the Artemis generation through the Big Idea Challenge is a strategic effort to fuel that type of innovation.”
Interested and qualified teams must submit a notice of intent by September 25, 2020. Proposals and video presentations are due by December 13, 2020. The final teams will be invited to present their solutions to a panel of subject experts from the agency and industry. 2021 BIG Idea Forum, planned for November 2021.
The 2021 BIG Idea Challenge is sponsored by NASA through a collaboration between STA’s Game Changing Development Program and the National Space Grant College of STEM Engagement and the Office of Fellowship Project (Space Grant). This challenge is managed by the National Institute of Aerospace.
For more information about the challenge, including full design guidelines and constraints, relevant resources and details about applying, go to:
For more information about NASA’s National Space Grant College and the Fellowship Project, visit: