Published on May 8th, 2015 | by James Ayre


NASA’s Journey To Mars Challenge — Awards Of Up To $15,000 On Offer For Solutions To The Establishment Of Continuous Human Presence On Mars

May 8th, 2015 by

Those with the bent of an inventor will probably like this one — NASA’s new “Journey to Mars Challenge” will be awarding up to $15,000 (from a total prize pot of $15,000) to contest entrants who come up with, and describe in great detail, one or more “Mars surface systems/capabilities and operations” necessary for the facilitation of a continuous human presence on the Red Planet.

These solutions need to be described in great detail, and are required to be technically and economically achievable — note here that that’s technically and economically achievable, if something isn’t affordable it’s no real solution. Ideally these solutions should be those that require minimal inputs from the Earth — that is to say, self sufficiency will be well regarded by those judging the contest.


Solutions “may consist of proposed approaches, capabilities, systems or a set of integrated systems that enable or enhance a sustained human presence on Mars. Solutions should include the assumptions, analysis, and data that justify their value. Submissions should include a process to develop, test, implement, and operate the system or capability. Submissions will be judged on relevance, creativity, simplicity, resource efficiency, feasibility, comprehensiveness and scalability.”

Here are some more of the details (via the contest site):

This is a Theoretical Challenge that requires only a written submission. The Challenge award will be contingent upon theoretical evaluation of the submission by the Seeker. Awards will be paid out to the top submissions that meet or exceed the criteria below. Awards will be paid out in increments of $5,000 (minimum) up to a potential total award pool of $15,000. The awards are not guaranteed, however; the Seeker expects to pay out 1-3 awards in total assuming the submissions meet the criteria.

To receive an award, the Solvers will not have to transfer their exclusive intellectual property (IP) rights to the Seeker. Instead, they will grant to the Seeker a non-exclusive license to practice their solutions.

Doesn’t sound like a bad deal. 🙂 Do we have any takers?

Those interested have until July 7th to submit their entries. This contest appears to already have a fair amount of competetion though, so be warned — 1596 active solvers to date, to be exact. And that’s only a few days after the contest opening.

Still, sounds like a bit of fun doesn’t it?

Image Credit: NASA

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

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