NASA Announces Three New Centennial Challenges

WASHINGTON -- NASA announced three new Centennial Challenges Tuesday, with an overall prize purse of $5 million. NASA's Centennial
Challenges are prize competitions for technological achievements by
independent teams who work without government funding.

"NASA sponsors prize competitions because the agency believes student
teams, private companies of all sizes and citizen-inventors can
provide creative solutions to problems of interest to NASA and the
nation," said Bobby Braun, the agency's chief technologist. "Prize
competitions are a proven way to foster technological
competitiveness, new industries and innovation across America."

The Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge is to place a small satellite into
Earth orbit, twice in one week, with a prize of $2 million. The goals
of this challenge are to stimulate innovations in low-cost launch
technology and encourage creation of commercial nano-satellite
delivery services.

The Night Rover Challenge is to demonstrate a solar-powered
exploration vehicle that can operate in darkness using its own stored
energy. The prize purse is $1.5 million. The objective is to
stimulate innovations in energy storage technologies of value in
extreme space environments, such as the surface of the moon, or for
electric vehicles and renewable energy systems on Earth.

The Sample Return Robot Challenge is to demonstrate a robot that can
locate and retrieve geologic samples from wide and varied terrain
without human control. This challenge has a prize purse of $1.5
million. The objectives are to encourage innovations in automatic
navigation and robotic manipulator technologies.

Centennial Challenges are extended to individuals, groups and
companies working outside the traditional aerospace industry. Unlike
most contracts or grants, awards only are made after solutions are
successfully demonstrated.

NASA is soliciting proposals from non-profit organizations to manage
each of the three new competitions. Centennial Challenge events
typically include public audiences and are televised or broadcast
over the Internet via streaming video. The competitions provide
high-visibility opportunities for public outreach and education.

After the partner organizations are signed, NASA and those
organizations expect to announce challenge rules and details on how
teams may enter later this year. Proposals from organizations
interested in partnering with NASA are due by Sept. 13. Selection of
partner organizations is expected by Oct. 8.

Since 2005, NASA has conducted 19 competition events in six challenge
areas and awarded $4.5 million to 13 different teams. There are three
current Centennial Challenges:

-- The Strong Tether Challenge: Teams must demonstrate a material that
is at least 50 percent stronger than the strongest commercially
available. The challenge is scheduled for Aug. 13 in Seattle.

-- The Power Beaming Challenge: Teams must transmit power using laser
beams to a device, so it can climb a vertical cable more than half a
mile high. The challenge is planned for the fall of 2010.

-- The Green Flight Challenge: Teams will fly aircraft they designed
to travel 200 miles in less than two hours using the energy
equivalent of less than one gallon of gasoline per occupant. The
challenge will be held in July 2011. It is expected to attract
electric, hybrid and bio-fueled aircraft.

For information about NASA's Centennial Challenges Program, visit:


For more information about NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist,


Source: NASA

◄ Share this news!

Bookmark and Share


The Manhattan Reporter

Recently Added

Recently Commented