NASA details best BIG Challenge concepts for future lunar missions

NASA has briefly detailed the eight lunar tech finalist concepts for future missions, ones that provide potential ways to illuminate the dark parts of the Moon, improve exploration, and more. The concepts come from university students across the US and will be presented as part of NASA's Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge kicking off today.

The BIG Challenge is sponsored by the space agency in its collaboration with the Office of STEM Engagement's Space Grant and Fellowship project, as well as the Space Technology Mission Directorate's Game Changing Development.

The National Institute of Aerospace is managing the challenge, which has selected eight finalists that were given funds for developing their various tech and concepts. Each proposed system is designed to serve NASA's Artemis program with the goal of improving the agency's ability to study the lunar surface.

The finalist teams come from MIT, Michigan Technological University, Arizona State University, Colorado School of Mines, Northeastern University, the University of Virginia, and Pennsylvania State University. Concepts include things like the use of lasers for powering hardware on the Moon, tech for exploring the permanently dark parts of the lunar surface, ways to launch probes, small robots that can work independently of each other, and more.

NASA is presenting the finalist teams in live streams today and tomorrow; the winners will be announced on January 11. Interested viewers can check out the live stream agenda on the Big Idea website here [PDF].