As the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) works to extend human exploration of the solar system, unprecedented capacity for electrical and thermal energy distribution, management, and storage will be needed to support sustained human presence and the beginning of industrial activity.
Solar energy is abundant on the lunar surface but extended night hours (350 consecutive hours) and extreme environmental temperature change from daylight to nighttime operation creates complexity for solar power use. Analogous issues arise on Earth, where demand for additional renewable energy generation, including solar, is rising, but additional power management, distribution, and energy storage solutions are needed to address intermittency and resiliency, among other issues.
In this Challenge, Teams will propose solutions for energy distribution, management, and/or storage that address NASA technology gaps and can progress toward flight readiness and future operation on the lunar surface. Such solutions may also have important synergies with terrestrial energy needs, and this Challenge is expected to help advance similar technologies for terrestrial application and commercialization.
In general, NASA is seeking to work with innovators across disciplines to find solutions that address a variety of needs on the lunar surface and will be exploring options to transport potential solutions to the Moon for testing, demonstration, and operation in the coming years.
A prize purse of up to $5,000,000 USD will be awarded across two rounds of competition:
Phase 1: Prize purses for Phase 1 will total up to $500,000. NASA will award up to three (3) 1st Place prize purses in the amount of $100,000 each to the winning Team in each Mission Activity (a total of $300,000). NASA may also award up to four (4) additional prize purses in the amount of $50,000 each to the next highest scoring Teams in one or more Mission Activities (a total of up to $200,000). Teams must meet or exceed a minimum score in order to be eligible for a prize purse.
Phase 2: Prize purses for Phase 2 are expected to total up to $4.5 million. Additional detail about the number of winners and division of prize purses in Phase 2 (including milestone prizes, if offered) will be included in the Phase 2 rules.
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