NASA Announces $20,000 Prize for its New ‘Mars Balance Mass Challenge’

NASA Announces $20,000 Prize for its New ‘Mars Balance Mass Challenge’

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced a $20,000 cash prize for its new "Mars Balance Mass Challenge" with the launch of its new website, NASA Solve.

The challenge is to provide design ideas for small science and technology payloads that will help stabilize future NASA spacecraft when it will enter the atmosphere of Mars.

The registration began on September 20, 2014, and the closing date is November 21, 2014. The winner will be announced in mid-January, 2015, who will receive an award of $20,000.

The two major roles that will be served by the payloads are to provide necessary weight to balance planetary landers and to support scientific or technology functions that can help to learn more about Mars.

The challenge is being managed by NASA's Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI). CoECI was established in coordination with White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to advance NASA open innovation efforts and extend that expertise to other federal agencies.

The Mars challenge was announced by NASA Chief Technologist David Miller at Maker Faire in Queens, New York. The prize will be given to the designer who presents the best design idea.

Miller mentioned that their website will provide information for public members, makers and other citizen scientists regarding NASA's challenges and prizes in one location.

Lisa May, the lead program executive for NASA's Mars exploration program, said, "We want people to get involved in our journey to Mars. This challenge is a creative way to bring innovative ideas into our planning process, and perhaps help NASA find another way to pack more science and technology into a mission".

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