Credit: NASA/HeroX

There’s a new challenge on the table – developing miniature payload prototypes that can be sent to the Moon – to fill in the gaps in our lunar knowledge.

Back in April of this year, fourteen teams were recognized and rewarded for their innovative approaches to miniature payload development.

But now there’s a larger agenda in the shaping of micro-payloads for the Moon; five of the teams will rely on crowdsourcing to recruit new team members and fill any resource gaps they might have.

Insert payload here

Credit: NASA/HeroX

The teams recruiting new members have indicated the expertise they are seeking in their respective project description. Those teams are as follows:

— Puli Lunar Water Snooper

— M.E.G.A.M.A.N. (Moon Element Gas Absorption to Mark Abundant Nodes)

— Lunar Radiation Characterization

— Moon soil resources from seismic waves

— Adaptable Science Box for Lunar Rovers

Roomba®-sized rovers

Announced today, the teams in this second phase competition will have the opportunity to win $800,000 in development funds and prizes and potentially see their payloads deployed on the Moon.

Imagine a rover the size of your Roomba® crawling across the lunar landscape.

Small rovers developed by NASA and commercial partners provide greater mission flexibility and allow researchers to collect key information about the lunar surface.

However, existing science payloads are too big, too heavy, and require too much power for these rovers and new, miniaturized payload designs are needed.

Payloads need to be similar in size to a new bar of soap to fit cleanly inside the rover (maximum external dimensions: 100mm x 100mm x 50mm).

More efficient payloads

“Smaller, more efficient payloads provide us with greater mission flexibility,” said Andrew Shapiro, Manager of Technology Formulation for the Space Technology Office at NASA JPL.

“Ultimately, the information gathered by these miniature rovers and their payloads,” Shapiro added, “will inform our near-term mission designers and help us prepare for long-term habitation on the Moon.”

Moon base design.
Credit: ESA/P. Carril

To get involved, visit the Teams tab of the challenge and see the teams that are recruiting new members and what capabilities and areas of expertise those different teams need.

New team members must be aged 18 or older and may originate from any country, as long as United States federal sanctions do not prohibit participation (some restrictions apply).

Give a tiny bot a new set of tools to explore the Moon. Share your ideas for a mini-payload to make lunar exploration more effective.

Working with NASA on this competitive journey is HeroX – a social network for crowdsourcing innovation and human ingenuity, co-founded in 2013 by serial entrepreneur, Christian Cotichini and XPRIZE Founder and Futurist, Peter Diamandis.

For detailed information regarding the first phase of the tournament – and the who’s who regarding the already selected 14 teams, go to:

NASA is set to launch their “Honey I Built the NASA Payload, The Sequel” challenge on the HeroX website today at:


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