NASA offers public $25K for ideas on how to unload lunar landers

Brittany A. Roston - Oct 29, 2020, 2:14pm CDT
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NASA offers public $25K for ideas on how to unload lunar landers

NASA has launched another challenge targeted at the public, this one seeking concepts for unloading payloads from lunar landers. The winning concept(s) may be put to use under NASA’s Artemis mission, which aims to return humans to the Moon amid a number of other missions. Among other things, NASA wants to create a ‘base camp’ on the Moon that will require regular payload deliveries.

NASA often publishes public challenges that seek solutions for various issues; these are published on the platform HeroX and include rewards for those who offer winning concepts. The latest in the long line of challenges is one for the Artemis mission, specifically for the lunar landers that will deliver various payloads to the Moon’s surface.

As NASA explains on its HeroX challenge, the space agency plans to build a base camp on the Moon that will serve as the foundation for future missions and scientific work. A variety of items will be delivered to this lunar base camp using multiple different commercial landers, each of which varies in size.

NASA ideally wants a payload unloading system that will be flexible enough to deal with the variety in payloads and rovers. The solution will need to be smaller than the kind used on Earth, which NASA describes as too ‘massive’ to ship to the Moon. “We are looking for practical and cost-effective solutions to unload payloads to the lunar surface,” NASA explains.

NASA says that concepts submitted by the public and ultimately used by the space agency may ‘help jump-start the space economy,’ one that is heavily focused on the Moon with the ultimate goal of getting to Mars. Interested participants can head over to the Guidelines page for the challenge to get specifics on what NASA needs and what kind of rewards are up for grabs.


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