NASA’s mission to put humans on Mars now includes crowdsourcing ideas about how they could survive the 500-day resupply schedule while living on the Red Planet.
Today, the agency announced it would award three $US5000 prizes, asking members of the public to:
“…write down their ideas, in detail, for developing the elements of space pioneering necessary to establish a continuous human presence on the Red Planet.
This could include shelter, food, water, breathable air, communication, exercise, social interactions and medicine, but participants are encouraged to consider innovative and creative elements beyond these examples.
If you’re interested, your idea for a surface system should be “technically achievable, economically sustainable, and minimize reliance on support from Earth”.
NASA’s aiming for humans to step onto the surface of Mars some time in the 2030s. It officially launched its “Next Giant Leap” programme in December last year, taking the wraps off the next-generation Orion spacecraft and announcing that the Space Launch System (SLS) launching it will be the largest rocket ever built.
NASA is currently running its Evolvable Mars Campaign, which deals with how to break apart habitation challenges both in transit to Mars and on its surface. And astronauts aboard the ISS are currently researching the health impacts of extended space travel.
The agency hopes to build reusable space capabilities and in maintaining a permanent human presence in deep space, it hopes humanity be able to “push out into the solar system to stay”.
You’ve got until June 7 to pitch your ideas. Here’s the entry form.