NASA has called out to university-level engineering students to help with its mission to harvest water on Moon and Mars. The US space agency has called the programme, 2021 Moon to Mars Ice and Prospecting Challenge.
In a statement, NASA said that water is extremely important in all space missions, either to drink, to grow plants or even to make rocket propellant. But, NASA explains, it is expensive to carry water from Earth, especially since water is available in the solar system in abundance. The statement said that NASA is using a water mapping technology to understand how the water reserve in space, way more than previously imagined, could be utilised.
"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 Douglas Terrier, NASA chief technologist.
The statement said that harvesting water is the key to successful and sustainable human exploration of the lunar surface, of Mars and other planets in the long run.
Interested teams will have to send in details of their project by November 24, 2020. Ten teams will be shortlisted; each of these ten teams will be given a $10,000 development stipend (approximately 7.5 lakh) to build and test their proposed systems over a period of six months. The final systems will be demonstrated at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia in June next year.
You can get more details on the competition here.
NASA said that the motive behind the competition is to encourage the "brightest minds" to come up with "technological breakthroughs" which can contribute to human exploration of space in the future.