The search is on to find innovative engineering approaches that will integrate power transmission and energy storage to accommodate long-duration robotic and human missions to the Moon.

NASA has launched the Watts on the Moon Phase 2 Challenge today and will award up to $5 million across the two phases.

HeroX, a crowdsourcing platform, is working with NASA on the challenge via the space agency’s Centennial Challenges Program.

Long-term lunar habitation

This challenge is focused on re-planting boots on the Moon under NASA’s Artemis program. The intent of Artemis is to establish a long-term human presence at the Moon and to do so there’s to integrate power transmission and energy storage to support astronauts, hardware, and systems in the extremely challenging thermal and lighting conditions on the lunar surface.

Phase 1 of Watts launched in September 2020 and focused of energy management, distribution, and storage solutions. In May 2021, seven winners were awarded a total of $500,000 in prize purses.

Because Phase 1 showed that there are a number of promising approaches to address this need, Phase 2 will be launched to allow these approaches and others an opportunity to vie for part of the $4.5M prize purse to develop and demonstrate their performance in simulated lunar conditions.

Phase 2 is a three-level competition that will award up to 17 prizes across the challenge.

Lunar south pole – future Moon base location?
Credit: NASA

Wired and wireless transmission

NASA has significant interest in both wired and wireless transmission, and the Challenge seeks to incentivize and demonstrate both types of solutions: Energy storage that can (1) power mission operation loads when intermittent power generation is not available and (2) survive and operate in extreme cold environments.

“Challenges like Watts on the Moon give us the chance to utilize the creativity of industry, academia, and the public to power our return to the Moon,” said Jim Reuter, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Reuter adds in a HeroX statement that the solutions in this challenge may also have important applications here on Earth and help advance similar technologies for terrestrial application and commercialization.

Eligibility to compete and win prize(s)

Individuals must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States and be 18 years of age or older. Organizations must be an entity incorporated in and maintaining a primary place of business in the United States (some restrictions apply).

To accept the challenge and access additional information, go to:

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