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NASA Names Winners of Space Exploration Technology and Design Challenges

NASAbuildingNASA has named the winning submissions of two challenges that called for new concepts on construction and human habitation for the agency’s space exploration missions including the journey to Mars.

The agency said Wednesday the Space Suit Textile Testing and In-Situ Materials Challenges were managed by NineSigma under NASA Tournament Labs and were launched in October 2015.

“These two challenges offered the opportunity to think about two basic needs of exploration – protective suits and building materials – in a new way,” said Steve Rader, deputy manager of NASA’s Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation.

“Our journey to Mars will require innovations in design and technology; opening our process up to the public gives us more creative paths to follow.”

The Space Suit Textile Testing challenge offered $5,000 each for three concepts on ways to test the outer protective layer of spacesuit material that can withstand various planetary environments.

Winners of the spacesuit testing challenge are:

  • Evaluating Space Suit Textile Abrasion in Planetary Environments — Ahilan Anantha Krishnan
  • Cylindrical Abrasion Method — Himel Barua, Thomas L. Collins, Riniah Foor, Evan Hess, Joey Stavale, Christopher Daniels, Heather Oravec, Janice Mather and M.J. Braun
  • Point-of-Failure Based System Using High Velocity Abrasives — John Holler

The In-Situ Challenge offered a first-place prize of $10,000 and two second-place prizes of $2,500 for the best ideas on how to use surface materials like regolith — crushed basalt rock — for Earth and space construction applications.

NASA said the use of in-situ regolith in construction could help reduce space exploration expenses by $100,000 per kilogram since shipping costs will be eliminated.

The winners of the in-situ challenge are:

  • 1st place: Planetary Fabrication of Complex Metallic/Ceramic Objects with In-Situ Resources — Behrokh Khoshnevis
  • 2nd place: Cold Spray Technology Applied to Building and Repair — David Espinosa and David Orlebeke
  • 2nd place: Simultaneous Exhaust-Enabled Ore Reduction, Separation and Processing — Patrick Donovan

CoECI was established to help NASA and other government agencies explore alternative options and methods to address mission requirements.

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