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NASA Launches Entrepreneurs Challenge for Lunar Payloads and Climate Science Solutions

NASA has announced a new Entrepreneurs Challenge in collaboration with the crowdsourcing platform HeroX, aimed at finding innovative solutions to support the Artemis Program for lunar exploration and climate science. The challenge has a total prize pool of $1,000,000, and submissions are open until November 29th, 2023. NASA is looking for ideas to develop and commercialize state-of-the-art technology and data usage that advances lunar exploration and climate science.


The Artemis Program and the Challenges of Climate Change


The Artemis Program is NASA's mission to return humans to the Moon by 2024 and establish a sustained human presence on the lunar surface. NASA plans to send the first woman and the first person of color to the Moon with Artemis III. This program aims to address all manner of requirements, from launch vehicles and human-rated spacecraft to logistical concerns and payload services.


Meanwhile, the planet is facing a growing climate crisis as rising concentrations of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere drive temperature increases, leading to rising sea levels, coastal flooding, melting ice sheets, and increased drought, famine, disease, and heat waves. To tackle these challenges, space agencies rely on Earth Observation satellites to track climate change and predict ecological impacts.


Combining Lunar Exploration and Climate Science


NASA is combining these two areas of focus for this year's NASA Entrepreneur Challenge, as developments for space have always had game-changing applications for life here on Earth. The challenge is a follow-up to the successful Entrepreneur Challenges held in 2020 and 2021, and it consists of two rounds.

In Round 1, teams will submit a Pitch Deck of up to 8 slides alongside a Technical Submission (a white paper of up to 5 pages) outlining their ideas. Up to 20 companies will be awarded $16,000 and invited to participate in Round 2, where they will support a Pitch Deck of up to 12 Slides with a more extensive technical submission (10 pages) further detailing their ideas. Up to eight winners will be selected and awarded $85,000 in funding to further mature their concepts.


The submissions must conform to one of two Technology Focus Areas: Lunar payloads to attract non-governmental funding for delivery to the lunar surface by a commercial provider, or a means to obtain high-quality climate science data from small instruments hosted by NASA and/or new business models for using existing climate data to address climate and environmental problems.


Potential Benefits for Participants


The winning companies will be invited to participate in a live event at the Defense TechConnect Innovation Summit and Expo in Washington, D.C., from November 28th to 30th, 2023, to present their ideas to a panel of judges. Participants will be able to network with potential investors, program managers, and representatives from the commercial sector, government organizations, and foundations. The challenge is open to submissions from for-profit and non-profit ventures, and NASA strongly encourages applications from diverse backgrounds and unrepresented communities.


To participate in the challenge, organizations must be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the U.S. NASA personnel and venture experts will judge the submissions based on their technical viability (60%) and venture viability (40%). The deadline for submissions is November 29th, 2023. For more information, visit the Challenge Page.

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