BEACON TRANSCRIPT – NASA has turned to crowdsourcing and announced that it would be offering a prize of $100,000 to those that can create an aerosol sensor that works in space. The aerospace agency will be doing so as it is among the sponsors of the Earth & Space Air Prize.
The Common Aerosol Sensor Must Become Functional in Space
Aerosols are various small particles in the air that can cause health problems, including asthma. An aerosol sensor is a technology which detects these particles in the air and then determines how safe it is to breathe in the said environment.
Such technology already exists on Earth, of course. However, using it for a long-term space flight would likely present some new issues.
“Current aerosol instrument technology is too large. It doesn’t offer the necessary level of sensitivity or longevity, along with the ability to operate in reduced gravity,” explained Paul Mudgett, a member of NASA’s Biomedical Research and Environment Sciences Division.
So NASA set out on ‘closing this gap’ through its newest collaboration with the RWJF. Ideally, the newly created sensors will have to be lightweight and easy to use. They would also have to be durable enough to endure a long space flight.
The winning aerosol sensor will have to be functional both out in space and here on Earth. Being rather inexpensive to produce would certainly also be a plus.
The contest is open and will be offering its prize to either individuals or teams. Entrants will need to sign up by December 13, 2017, and have their designs submitted by January 31, 2018. By respecting this timeline, they will be able to move on to the next round.
Sometime near the end of March, three finalists will be given $50,000 to build their design, which will offer them a direct shot at the $100,000 prize. The rights of these projects will also reportedly remain with their creators.
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