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Next NASA prize announced

Posted by: Andy Hill - Wed May 25, 2005 7:27 am
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Next NASA prize announced 
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Post Next NASA prize announced   Posted on: Wed May 25, 2005 7:27 am
NASA has announced its next centennial prize. They want someone to build a machine to produce 5kg of Oxygen in a 8 hour period from simulated lunar regolith. The competition is worth $250k to the winner and runs until June 2008.

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20 ... onair.html

I think that this is a good idea and should lower costs when they eventually get back to the moon.

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Post    Posted on: Wed May 25, 2005 8:39 am
It's not only a very interesting prize - it also is the first prize aiming not at vehicles and vehicle technology: It is a prize for production equipment - and thus could prove to be the first initiative for a private lunar industry which may expand to Mars and to asteroids later...

That's espicially remarkable concering this prize from my point of view...



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Post    Posted on: Wed May 25, 2005 2:05 pm
This is undoubtedly the most valuable prize they've offered so far, in terms of use to the industry and the colonization of another object.

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Post    Posted on: Wed May 25, 2005 2:16 pm
I would like if some companies of small or middle size get the information and prove to be interested and then take the chance. This is valid for the mining industry too.

They might be interested in private space transportation too - by SpaceX for example but by the ASP teams too - and so may become significant customers of private space transportation companies.

It also would be very good to see start-up companies stimulated by this - but these wouldn't be space transportation customers I think. ...



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Post    Posted on: Wed May 25, 2005 3:09 pm
This was the sort of prize I was hoping NASA would do:- stimulate areas that are more or less space specific. Something like the tether challenge and it's obvious ties (excuse the pun) to nano-tube technology is an area that will be developed irrespective of what NASA does. In some respects that prize is a waste as it is not likely to encourage additional work in the field due to the prize size and will be taken advantage of by those already working in it achieving progress that they would be making anyway.

Oxygen generation is something not as widely researched and addItional work might be done by companies that work in related fields.

NASA should focus on things like this that are much more space specific and allow others to push technology that has wider applications across different engineering fields.

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Post    Posted on: Wed May 25, 2005 10:09 pm
Now I really like this prize. This is good. It will give us new technology in a more manageable scale so even smaller firms and perhaps even wealthy private individuals can give us good science..


Last edited by publiusr on Thu May 26, 2005 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Thu May 26, 2005 12:50 am
I think this is a good step for NASA in the right direction with these prizes. SHould be interesting to see what develops from it.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 08, 2005 6:33 pm
It seems NASA is going to compete itself by funding a research project to extract oxygen from lunar regolith. :)

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/ ... 060805.php

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Post    Posted on: Sat Jul 23, 2005 9:25 am
NASA has annouced its next challenge. They are running a competition to design a new astronaut glove with a prize of $250,000 to be awarded in Nov 2006, pretty short timescale but should get some results. Obviously first steps to creating a much more usable space suit for future missions.

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=17477
http://exploration.nasa.gov/centennialc ... enges.html

Its good to see that the challenges are becoming more focused on space specific hardware. I wonder when NASA will announce some of their major challenges (Flagship and Keystone) all the ones so far have been Alliance challenges which are designed to "leverage technologies" needed for exploration.

The really interesting challenges will be the Flagship ones that that are awarded for "Major private space missions", I would have expected NASA to have announced one of these by now as they are likely to have longer timescales because of their complexity.

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Post    Posted on: Sun Jul 24, 2005 9:25 pm
Andy Hill wrote:
The really interesting challenges will be the Flagship ones that that are awarded for "Major private space missions", I would have expected NASA to have announced one of these by now as they are likely to have longer timescales because of their complexity.


The reason they haven't yet is because they don't have the budget authority to assign more than $250k to a prize yet. When Congress starts allowing 1M+ prizes I expect NASA to come out with some big ones really fast.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jul 25, 2005 8:00 am
TerraMrs wrote:
The reason they haven't yet is because they don't have the budget authority to assign more than $250k to a prize yet. When Congress starts allowing 1M+ prizes I expect NASA to come out with some big ones really fast.


Whats the hold up? I thought that everyone, congress included, liked the idea and agreed that it should go ahead because it would give NASA more for its money. I think that the Aldridge report even recommended prizes so why hasn't NASA been given permission

If they are worried about the size, then why not do it in stages? Say allow upto $10M at first then bigger prizes later. You dont get much for $250k in the space industry.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 21, 2005 6:49 am
Well here's another prize announced, excavating lunar regolith and delivering it to a container. Again the prize is limited to $250k so they are still struggling to get some of the bigger competitions sanctioned.

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2005/se ... _dirt.html

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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 21, 2005 9:50 am
May be the limit enforces nanotechnology-approaches. They can't carry and install mining-equipment and indistrial equipment there of the size it usually has here down on Earth. And they have to restrict the costs down to what is required for scientific missions. That's far less than for markets.

Perhaps each competitional approach meant to create a market is superior to competitions like this one - but currently no market-oriented activities on the moon are possible yet (may be they are in 20 or 30 years).



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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:14 am
It's not very prasctical if you want have a giant moon digger. If you could build it on the moon, then it would be okay, but since transport is still the most difficult thing, you have to make it small and not very heavy. In that way, you can have a sort-of-simple base unit for rovering over the moon where you can build a module which does the drilling, shoving and maybe even processing. That way you can mass produce the base unit which will get the cost down. And it could also be used on mars as well. Modular is the way to go in my opinion. Keep it simple and don't build one machine that can do 50 things in a poor manner.

Any thoughts about this idea?


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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 22, 2005 1:53 pm
It is a very interesting prize and I hope it sets the tone for the future. It is not sexy, but it has a very important practical use. As for size, well, i think we take one step at a time first.


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