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Ideas for New NASA Prize Challenges

Published by Rob Goldsmith on Sun Aug 30, 2009 10:32 am via: source
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The Centennial Challenges are getting ready to receive new challenge ideas.



We are now formulating plans for new prize challenges with the help of engineers and scientists throughout NASA – and we would like to consider ideas from the public as well.

Do you have an idea for a prize challenge?
You will soon be able to submit your idea to the survey below and we will post them for others to see.

All submissions become public domain information. Ideas that are submitted may be used in whole or in part in formulating NASA prize challenges. We are not offering any awards or other recognition to those who submit ideas, including those that may become part of a proposed or actual NASA challenge. Survey responses will be posted on this website as soon as possible. Providing your name is optional and names and affiliations of those making submittals will not be posted publicly.

What are we looking for?

  • Relevant to NASA needs
  • Relevant to national and global needs
  • One or more NASA organizations willing to advocate
    • Provide expertise to guide competition
    • Actively seek technology infusion and partnerships
    • Remain involved through life of competition
  • Potential for commercial development
  • Appropriate subject for prize competition

Ideal Characteristics for Challenges
Not all interesting technical problems make good prize challenges

  • Technically valuable and interesting
    • Solution set not overly constrained – multiple solutions possible
    • High technical risk, high potential payback
  • Right degree of difficulty
    • Requires innovation but achievable by independent teams
    • Appropriate for the prize amount
    • Multiple competitors likely
  • Compelling to the public
    • Simple rules
    • Interesting to observe or follow
    • Obvious value
    • Futuristic

Links between NASA Needs and National and Global Needs

  • Energy – Alternative sources, transmission, storage and conservation
  • Food and Water Supplies, Life Support, Recycling, Hazard Remediation
  • Health Care, Space Medicine, Tele-Medicine
  • Robotics
  • Education, Communication, Artificial Intelligence
  • Climate Change, Earth Science, Space Weather
I think the best use of creative ideas would be a water recycling system. They already have one on the station. But if it could be more efficient and miniaturizable it would be a benefit both here on earth as well as in space.

The criteria would be.

Recycles higher percentage of input water than the space stations Water reclamation system.

Lower residence time

Higher throughput

Lower Joules/liter

Lighter weight

More compact construction

Easy to maintain

Prizes could be awarded based on improvements in one or all of the above areas as long as performance did not significantly decrease in the other areas.
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