Is there life on the Moon or Mars? Is there water in those places? It is not easy for the astronomers and researchers to answer such questions. US space agency NASA is now considering to get some help. They have appealed to the university level engineering students to help them collect water on the moon and Mars.
This challenge is named '2021 Moon to Mars Ice and Prospecting Challenge'. NASA is asking eligible undergraduate and graduate student teams to design and build hardware that can identify, map, and drill through various subsurface layers, then extract water from an ice block in a simulated off-world testbed. NASA chief technologist Douglas Terrier said,
The water we'll find when the next men and first women explore the lunar surface for the Artemis program is liable to be mixed with contaminants that need to be removed before drinking, or use as fuel.
Water is very important in any space mission. Whether it's to drink or to grow trees or to launch rockets. But water is very heavy and expensive to carry from Earth. Meanwhile, the solar system has plenty of water. But it is not easy to find. And NASA wants to use this water mapping technology to understand how to find and use the water in space. Mr Terrier added,
Learning how to safely and efficiently prospect for and harvest water is key for sustainable human exploration - not only on the Moon but also on Mars and at other far reaches of our solar system.
Interested teams must submit a project plan detailing their proposed concept design and operations. The last date to submit the application is November 24, 2020.
Up to 10 teams will be selected in December to receive a $10,000 development stipend to build and test their systems over the next six months before demonstrating their capabilities in a three-day competition at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, next June.