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NASA seeks solutions for lunar loads

As NASA continues to explore Moon habitability, the space agency has launched its “Lunar Delivery Challenge”, on the crowdsourcing site HeroX. The objective is to seek innovative ways to take lunar goods off of rovers and put them onto the lunar surface (this is not an easy feat, given the Moon’s gravity).

Key personnel behind the new challenge (NASA’s last of 2020) are Paul Kessler, Aerospace Vehicle Design and Mission Analyst at NASA and Christian Cotichini, CEO of HeroX. The challenge launced on October 29, 2020.

Water on the Moon

NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has identified, for the first time, water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. This finding indicates that water may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places. This challenges previously held views about the topography of the lunar surface.

This comes at the time, as Digital Journal reports, when NASA has indicated how eight countries have signed an international agreement called the Artemis Accords. This accord sets out the principles of future exploration of the Moon and beyond.

New challenge

With the new challenge the public have been askedto submit novel ways to unload lunar payloads. Called NASA’s Lunar Delivery Challenge,the contest is offering $25,000 in prizes for the best ideas from the general public for ideas for removing cargo from the lunar landers. These landers are being built for the space agency’s Artemis program.

According to NASA: “Current Earth-based logistics systems are too massive to easily be packaged and deployed on the lunar surface. This is why we are asking for your help! We are looking for practical and cost-effective solutions to unload payloads to the lunar surface.”

With the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before.

Acording to Paul Kessler, an organizer of the Lunar Delivery Challenge, with NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. “Many people want to be part of something great, and here is a chance to help us on the Moon, which is where we will prepare for human exploration of Mars.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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