NASA Will Give You $750,000 if You Can Solve Their Mars CO2 Problem

Tuesday, 04 September 2018 - 10:14AM
Mars
Tuesday, 04 September 2018 - 10:14AM
NASA Will Give You $750,000 if You Can Solve Their Mars CO2 Problem
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Image Credit: Pixabay Composite
If and when humankind finally reaches Mars and begins the process of building a colony, we're going to need a few a things. Astronauts chosen for NASA's Mars Mission will have lots of supplies with them to make transitioning to life in a new world easier, but as with every settlement in history, they will also have to make use of native resources for long-term survival. According to Yahoo!NASA needs some help in that department, and they have $1,000,000 in prize money waiting for the person/people that can figure out ways to turn carbon dioxide into other useful products, namely sugar.

NASA announced the CO2 Conversion Challenge as a part of its Centennial Challenges program and opened it up to all US citizens or entities that operate primarily in the United States. The atmosphere on Mars is chock full of CO2. Carbon and oxygen are two of the three major components in sugars, so if astronauts had the ability to turn these abundant resources into glucose it would give them the materials needed to literally build a new world. "Enabling sustained human life on another planet will require a great deal of resources and we cannot possibly bring everything we will need, said program manager Monsi Roman in a press release. "We have to get creative...If we can transform an existing and plentiful resource like carbon dioxide into a variety of useful products, the space – and terrestrial – applications are endless." The results of this challenge could also effect bio-manufacturing here on Earth, presenting an alternative that requires less energy, water, and time.

The challenge is broken down into two phases. The first is the submission phase, where in individuals and teams will share their designs as well as detailed outlines explaining their physical-chemical process for turning CO2 into glucose. The registration deadline is January 24, submissions are due by February 28, and after administrative review and evaluation panel review periods, NASA will award up to five winners $50,000 each in April. Those winners will move onto Phase 2, where they will have to build and demonstrate their inventions for the chance to take home another $750,000. If you think you're smart enough to figure out NASA's CO2 problem, head over to the CO2 Conversion Challenge website for more details and guidelines and to register.

Science
NASA
Mars