NASA challenges US students to design vital equipment for a Moon base

NASA has posed a new challenge to US students with the space agency asking for ideas on constructing what will be vital Moon base equipment.

Published Aug 12, 2022 4:35 AM CDT   |   Updated Sat, Sep 3 2022 11:40 AM CDT
1 minute & 37 seconds read time

NASA wants innovative ideas from university students across the country on how to construct a metal production pipeline on the surface of the Moon.

The space agency has taken to its blog and social channels to reveal its 2023 Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-Changing (BIG) Idea Challenge, where it detailed that this year's challenge will be to design a metal production pipeline that can extract metal from lunar minerals to create structures and tools. NASA explains that metal will be a vital resource on the Moon when structures are being created due to its strength and resistance to corrosion.

However, metal is heavy, making it very expensive to transport, hence the challenge of designing a pipeline to create it out of lunar materials. Notably, NASA states that drilling, excavation, and transportation of mined materials are not included within the challenge and that a team will be eligible when it has five members, no more than 25 members, and is from U.S.-based colleges and universities affiliated with their state's Space Grant Consortium. Furthermore, the space agency states that there is a non-binding notice of intent due by September 30 and the design proposals in both written and video format on January 24, 2023.

NASA challenges US students to design vital equipment for a Moon base 58 |

"Here at home, forging metal has long been a key part of building our homes and infrastructure, and the same holds true as we work towards a sustained presence on the Moon. This challenge gives students the opportunity to help develop the future technology that will help us find, process, and manufacture with metal on the lunar surface," said Niki Werkheiser, director of technology maturation within the agency's Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).

"NASA is already thinking about supporting longer-term missions to the Moon. This BIG Idea Challenge theme links university teams to the push toward sustained human presence on the Moon and on other planets. This theme goes beyond initial Artemis missions and starts tackling the mission planning needs once we've returned humans to the Moon. We are excited to see what these teams develop," said Tomas Gonzalez-Torres, Space Grant project manager in NASA's Office of STEM Engagement.

For more information on the BIG challenge, check out this link here.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science and space news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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