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NASA Opens Watts on the Moon Competition


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Artemis spacecraft on the Moon, illustration

Continuous energy will be a critical piece of NASA's Artemis program.

Credit: NASA

NASA is accepting submissions for the Watts on the Moon Challenge, a public prize competition that asks inventors, businesses, and university students to provide ideas for sustainable energy storage, distribution, and management on the lunar surface.

NASA will send astronauts to new areas of the Moon as part of the Artemis program. Astronauts will need a continuous supply of power from multiple sources to live and work on the Moon for long periods. A flexible and robust system for surface power is key to safe and robust lunar exploration.

"Operating throughout the lunar night creates some of the most demanding energy storage and thermal management challenges in our exploration of the solar system," says Walt Engelund, the deputy associate administrator for programs within NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate. "We are calling on the public for their fresh ideas to help us innovate power solutions for the Moon."

The Watts on the Moon competition will take place over multiple phases. For Phase 1, participants will design a flexible and robust system capable of addressing one or more of three hypothetical mission activities similar to a real lunar mission. Solutions to this challenge will advance technology by developing energy distribution, management, and storage that can facilitate initial human presence on the Moon.

Winners will be awarded a portion of the $500,000 prize purse.

A second phase of the competition could task participants to build working prototypes that demonstrate their solutions. Phase 2 prizes are expected to total $4.5 million and could involve testing at a NASA or third-party facility.

From NASA
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