NASA Accepting Student Proposals for Moon and Mars Missions

NASA is seeking ideas that can be applied in space exploration.

This is a request to the young minds to contribute to humanity’s future space exploration, as the agency calls for proposals from students for the future mission on the moon.

The RASC-AL competition is open for submitting applications from undergraduate and graduate students who are asked to come up with new concepts and ideas for NASA’s Artemis program, where the goal is to send humans on the moon in 2024.

“This year’s RASC-AL competition directly addresses the agency’s goals for the Artemis program: returning humans to the moon with the intent to prove concepts for sustainably exploring Mars,” stated Douglas Craig, manager of strategic analysis for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate’s Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) division at NASA headquarters in Washington.

The competition consists of five themes for aerospace design concepts, such as designing a lunar rover for exploration of the south pole of the moon, creating a simulation of a Mars mission and planning a mission to Mars’ surface.

The applications are due March 5, 2020. Fifteen teams will be selected and sent to the RASC-AL Forum in Cocoa Beach, Florida in June. The final two teams will then present their projects at a major aerospace conference.

“RASC-AL provides an ideal platform for students to do this kind of meaningful, real-world research. It provides us with different perspectives that keep us on our toes, and [it] occasionally has us rethinking our approaches for exploring the wonders of space,” Patrick Troutman, human exploration strategic assessments lead at NASA’s Langley Research Center, said in the statement.

“Listening to these students present their work and explain their process is always thought-provoking and helps us investigate many unique trade-space scenarios that could be ultimately be included in NASA program planning,” he added.

The winner of last year’s competition was a team from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez which designed a vehicle for an exploration of the Moon surface.

The first step before entering the competition is filling out an online form by 15th of October. Then the teams need to fill out their proposals and a video submission form by March 5, 2020.

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