The space agency is currently running a new tour of its Moon to Mars Exploration Systems and Habitation Academic Innovation Challenge (M2M X-Hab) that suggests university students study and create space-faring technology.
The challenge will reward developments on habitation, vehicles, robotic advance expeditions, ‘foundational systems,’ which are standalone mission technologies and remote manufacturing, as well as human spaceflight systems focused on the lunar Gateway.
NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems department will offer numerous competitively-selected rewards ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 to university teams to support them in designing and creating studies, research findings or operating items that fill ‘knowledge gaps’ enhance capabilities and reduces technology risks linked to NASA’s Moon to Mars space exploration missions. The space agency has emphasized that this doesn’t necessarily involve tangible products. Proposals are due by April 24th, 2020.
Deep Space Exploration
The challenge may not necessarily lead to major progress in NASA’s Moon and Mars missions. However, competitions like this have created an expandable airlock module and other inventions that could play a very significant role. M2M X-Hab could allow the space agency to focus on greater issues involved with traveling to and living in places that are not Earth.
The space agency had a plan many years ago, which involved sending fuel generation factories to space. These factories were supposed to land on Mars and steadily gather resources from the atmosphere to generate the required fuels the mission would need. However, the plan did not go through, at least, from what we know. Otherwise, the factories would have been sent up there already.
NASA is currently leading a long-term mission to the Moon with both commercial and international collaborators to expand human presence in space. The main elements of the exploration expedition that will transport astronauts to the Moon and beyond are being created.
The space agency’s next rocket, the Space Launch System, together with the Orion probe and the mobile lunar command lab, Gateway, will be the support for deep space exploration.