NASA strives to establish a permanent human presence on the Red Planet and is asking for public opinion on how to go about this ambitious endeavor on the sustainability of life on Mars.
On Tuesday, NASA announced a “Journey to Mars” challenge asking participants to answer queries like “What do you need to bring, and how do you minimize the need for delivery of future supplies in order to establish a sustained human presence on a planet 140 million miles away from Earth?”
NASA is prepping up to the first ever probable human touchdown on Mars, which is scheduled to occur in the 2030s, and the ensuing “pioneering space” objectives. It has launched its challenge question thru a solutions-crowd-sourcing boards InnoCentive to help reach this aim.
The InnoCentive access announces a deadline of July 6 for a written detailed entries, and prizes up for grab are at $5,000 or more for up to three winners.
Participants, called “Solvers,” were asked to “describe one or more Mars surface systems/capabilities and operations needed to achieve this goal that are, to the greatest extent possible, technically achievable, economically sustainable, and minimize (ideally eliminate) reliance on support from Earth.”
The “systems/capabilities” will include oxygen/air, water, food, exercises of the mind and body, shelter, social interactions, communication, medical support and lastly climate control, but according to a NASA press release, people are encouraged to innovate other areas of focus. Solvers were instructed that a usual crew includes 4 to 6 people and reminds them to take into consideration limitations on the volume and weight of supplies brought to Mars and a 500-day least possible interval between resupply occasions.
With NASA emphasizing, “achieving this ‘continuous human presence’ is NOT colonization, which is defined in this context as a one-way trip to Mars with no opportunity to return.” NASA aims to implement “a gradual transition from current operations in low Earth orbit (LEO),” which is where the ISS operates “to a permanent human presence on Mars.”