Latest in Tomorrow

Image credit: HeroX

NASA wants ideas for keeping Moon missions powered in the dark

It could be key to long-term lunar settlements.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
September 27, 2020
740 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Astronauts on the Moon in darkness
HeroX

If NASA is going to have a long-term presence on the Moon, it’s going to need an alternative to typical solar power — lunar nights can last for over two weeks in some cases. And the agency is turning to outsiders for help. It’s partnering with HeroX on a “Watts on the Moon” crowdsourcing challenge that offers up to $5 million in total prizes if you can create energy solutions for Moon missions. The frontrunners won’t even have to wait until the technology is approved before it goes on a lunar trip.

The three-phase challenge starts with creators providing solutions that can power a mission with three activities. NASA judges will pick up to three winners for each activity and hand them $100,000 each, with as many as four runners-up getting $50,000 each. Phase 2 will task the victors with developing prototypes, and will hand out prizes worth up to $4.5 million. If one or more companies reach the third phase, they’ll team with NASA to build hardware for an “operational demonstration” on the Moon.

Individual participants only need to be US citizens, while organizations need to operate primarily out of the US.

There’s no certainty this will work as promised. However, NASA clearly has an incentive to explore crowdsourced options. While it won’t necessarily need to have this technology ready for the first people returning to the Moon (theoretically by 2024), it won’t get much further if long-term missions and settlements can’t stay powered through extended darkness.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
740 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

The 2020 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

The 2020 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

View
Scientists find neutrinos from star fusion for the first time

Scientists find neutrinos from star fusion for the first time

View
Vava’s 4K ultra short-throw projector is $840 off at Amazon

Vava’s 4K ultra short-throw projector is $840 off at Amazon

View
Google shows off 'Cyberpunk 2077' running on Stadia at 4K

Google shows off 'Cyberpunk 2077' running on Stadia at 4K

View
Belkin’s new wireless charger tries to do what AirPower promised

Belkin’s new wireless charger tries to do what AirPower promised

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr