There are many challenges in front of the NASA Artemis mission that will put humans on the moon again for the first time in decades. While lots of aspects of the Artemis mission are still undecided, NASA is hard at work gathering data and companies to help it tackle obstacles to make the missions happen. The space agency recently offered a prize purse worth $25,000 to help design systems for astronauts to use for unloading cargo on the lunar surface.
The NASA Lunar Delivery Challenge $25,000 prize pool can be shared with up to six winning participants. NASA wants to help figure out how astronauts will unload supplies needed to build their base camp and conduct scientific experiments on the moon. Existing cargo unloading systems used on the Earth are too bulky for the moon and aren’t designed to be sent into space.
Systems will also have to be designed to operate on the moon, which has much wider gravity, about six times less than Earth’s gravity. The systems NASA wants to be designed will be brought to the moon’s south pole using commercial lenders of various sizes. Once at their location, they will be subjected to 17 percent of the gravity felt on earth.
NASA wants cost-effective and practical solutions flexible enough to support a variety of payloads. NASA is hosting the competition on crowdsourcing social network HeroX. Teams wanting to participate have until January 19. NASA notes and its challenge overview that the systems could also eventually be used on Mars’s surface.
NASA is currently aiming to put humans back on the moon by 2024. The agency did share the image at the top of the story showing three different landers to give contest participants a better idea of the constraints they are working with. The landers are from Blue Origins, Dynetics, and SpaceX.