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If you are an engineering student, then here is your chance to work with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for exploring water on the Moon and Mars.

NASA has invited applications from eligible undergraduate and graduate student teams to help harvest water on the Moon and Mars. The space agency has asked interested teams to submit a project plan detailing their proposed concept design and operations by November 24, 2020.

In an official release, NASA said that ten teams would be selected in December. They will receive a 10,000 dollar development stipend to build and test their systems over the next six months. They have to demonstrate their plan in a three day competition at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia next June. The top performing teams would also get travel stipends to present their design at a future NASA chosen event or aerospace conference.

NASA chief technologist Douglas Terrier said “the water we’ll find when the next men and first women explore the lunar surface for the Artemis program is liable to be mixed with contaminants that need to be removed before drinking, or use as fuel,” said “Learning how to safely and efficiently prospect for and harvest water is key for sustainable human exploration – not only on the Moon, but also on Mars and at other far reaches of our solar system.”

That’s why the 2021 Moon to Mars  Ice and Prospecting Challenge is calling eligible undergraduate and graduate student teams to design and build hardware that can identify, map, and drill through various subsurface layers, then extract water from an ice block in a simulated off-world test bed.

“The teams’ main goal will be to harvest as much water as possible from simulated slices of lunar and Martian surfaces. Each team will also identify critical differences between operations on Earth versus the Moon and Mars, and describe essential modifications needed for each in this “path-to-flight” description for their prototypes, he was quoted in the release.

Noting that access to water was key for space exploration, assistant director for science and exploration in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Richard (Rick) Davis said “technological advancements that enable humans to ‘live off the land’ on distant worlds and use resources such as water, will unlock significant opportunities to explore our universe first-hand.”

“The Artemis program is inspiring the brightest minds in academia, and it is important for us to provide those talented students with unique, hands-on opportunities to contribute to the future of human space exploration,” said Dr. Prasun Desai, deputy associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). “We look forward to seeing their technological breakthroughs as they progress through the competition.”

To learn more about how to compete in the Moon to Mars Ice and Prospecting Challenge, visit: http://specialedition.rascal.nianet.org



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