Mankind has always had a desire to travel into space to go to the 4th planet from the Sun, Mars. As such, NASA is determined to find a way to establish a long-term Mars presence in the future. In order to accomplish this, man would have to be able to do much more than just travel to the Red Planet. Thus, NASA is soliciting ideas about what things would be needed to sustain humans in a long-term Mars presence.
NASA foresees the possible landing of a manned Mars mission by the 2030s and wants to be prepared to stay there for a while. In order to get some innovative ideas on the topic, they have instituted a challenge to space enthusiasts on a crowdsourcing platform called InnoCentive to obtain some suggestions.
Long-term Mars Presence Challenge to the Public
For those who want to participate in the long-term Mars presence adventure, a written submission is needed. The deadline for all proposals is July 6. NASA is going to reward three winners of the challenge with $5,000 prizes. Thus, there is a lot at stake for those thinking about travel to Mars in the future.
Anyone taking NASA up on the challenge will be dubbed a “solver.” They are to describe something that a Mars mission and long-term Mars presence on Mars would require in order to achieve the goal of becoming economically sustainable, thus eliminating support from Earth.
Solvers Need to Think Creatively About Solutions
Since help from Earth would be several hundred days away, the group of Mars explorers who would travel to the Red Planet would need to be able to operate essentially on their own for a long period of time. This means that the “solvers” will have to think about topics like food, oxygen, water, shelter, medical, communications and similar activities.
They are to assume the crew would consist of four to six people and must also allow for the weight and volume of their needed supplies to achieve their long-term Mars presence mission. NASA also stresses that this presence would not be considered a colonization of Mars. Rather, it would be a slow change from doing the type of things they now do in Earth orbit at the International Space Station to doing them on Mars.
So, if you think you have the solutions that NASA needs for a long-term Mars presence, then take the initiative and get your essay written and turned in for the contest prior to July 6 at the InnoCentive website.