NASA and the National Space Grant Foundation have awarded $117,000 in total prizes to eight student teams for their space habitation system designs that could support the Journey to Mars.
The space agency said Tuesday the concepts included approaches to space-based plant growth, astronaut fitness, vehicle integration and air purification as part of the eXploration Systems and Habitation Academic Innovation Challenge series.
Winners include teams from the University of Colorado, Oklahoma State University, Pratt Institute, Utah State University, University of Maryland, University of Puerto Rico and the University of South Alabama.
X-Hab designs can help address the efficiency of growing vegetables in space through updated water distribution methods and mechanisms for microgravity plant growth systems, NASA noted.
The agency has applied student concepts from previous X-Hab challenges such as waste handling, recycling and atmosphere scrubbing as well as fabrication concepts and design factors that affect human psychological and physiological conditions.
The Advanced Exploration Systems division of NASA’s human exploration and operations mission directorate sponsors X-Hab as part of efforts to foster academic, industry and international partnerships to support future human missions beyond Earth orbit.