NASA needs your suggestions for recycling waste on Mars mission

The American space agency has just launched a call for suggestions open to all. Candidates will have to propose innovations in order to go to Mars and return with a minimum of wasted materials. Interested parties have until March 15 to submit their proposals.

NASA’s Tournament Lab, in conjunction with crowdsourcing platform HeroX, has launched a challenge titled “Waste to Base”. The agency is therefore looking for ideas for recycle garbage, waste, carbon dioxide and packaging materials generated during a two to three year crewed mission.

Artist's impression - Credit: Pat Rawlings/NASA
Artist’s impression – Credit: Pat Rawlings/NASA

The US Space Agency website states: “This challenge is to find ways to convert waste into basic materials and other useful things, such as propellant or raw materials for 3D printing“. But the agency does not limit its ambitions to a simple basic recycling of waste. She adds: “waste must be transformed into necessary things and recycled several times. Although a perfectly efficient cycle is unlikely, ideal solutions will produce little or no waste

NASA: anyone of legal age can participate in the competition

Full eligibility requirements are available on the contest website. In a general way, anyone in the world aged 18 or over can participate individually or as a team. The only important condition being that the person(s) concerned is not not under US federal sanctions.

Winning ideas should be incorporated into a white paper that will be part of the roadmap for future technology development work, as part of NASA’s Logistics Optimization Project. Although the US agency has no no definite timetable yet for sending humans to Mars, it has suggested in recent years that it would be possible to get there by the mid-2030s.

In the shorter term, the agency hopes send astronauts to the moon, as part of the Artemis mission, around the mid-2020s. These missions will be able to contribute to the development of future missions to Mars. NASA also recruited volunteers to live in a Mars simulation earlier this year.

Read also >> NASA needs more astronauts

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