NASA launches $1 million competition for Mars project

Christopher Davidson
September 5, 2018

Calling it the "CO2 Conversion Challenge", NASA scientists say they need help finding a way to turn a plentiful resource like carbon dioxide into a variety of useful products in order to make trips to Mars possible.

Carbon dioxide is one resource readily abundant within the martian atmosphere. If you think you're smart enough to figure out NASA's CO2 problem, head over to the CO2 Conversion Challenge website for more details and guidelines and to register. "We have to get creative".

The contest is divided into two phases.

"Enabling sustained human life on another planet will require a great deal of resources and we can not possibly bring everything we will need, said program manager Monsi Roman in a press release".

Carbon and oxygen are the molecular building blocks of sugars.

While sugar-based biomaterials are inexpensively made on Earth by plants, this approach can not be easily adapted for space missions because of limited resources such as energy, water and crew time, it said.

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They could be used as the feedstock for systems that can efficiently produce a variety of items. The first is the submission phase, where in individuals and teams will share their designs as well as detailed outlines explaining their physical-chemical process for turning Carbon dioxide into glucose.

In the first phase, which is the concept challenge, five finalists will receive an award of $50,000 each.

As per a statement by NASA, this was issued late on Thursday, in that it called the situation as critical but said that the rover team is now optimistic that Opportunity has overcome the significant challenges during the 15 years on Mars.

The second phase, the system construction and demonstration stage, carries a prize of up to $750,000.

NASA said in a recent statement that it would begin a 45-day long campaign to attempt the restoration of communications with Opportunity once the sky opens up over the rover to a sufficient level, Xinhua reported.

Scientists will continue to look for the Rover Opportunity, lost among the dust storms, before the beginning of 2019.

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