What's on the Moon? Power!

BY LIZ TREADWELL | 1 min read

NASA Centennial Challenges Program is excited to announce that its newest crowdsourcing competition, Watts on the Moon is officially open and accepting submissions! Innovative minds from across the U.S are invited to participate in this new and challenging project.

Individuals and teams interested in participating are being asked to submit conceptual solutions for flexible and robust power distribution, storage, and management on the Moon for missions under the Artemis program. This will help establish the next step in space exploration for the United States. Winners from the first phase will be awarded a portion of the $500,000  total prize. Depending on the success of Phase 1, Phase 2 will ask participants to build working prototypes that demonstrate their solution in a real way. Prizes for Phase 2 are expected to be around $4.5 million dollars and will require simulated testing at a NASA or third-party facility.

For Phase 1, participants will not need to generate power, but will need to address one or more of these three power-related activities in their solution:

  • Delivering power from the power plant to a mobility platform operating inside the crater. The mobility platform collects and delivers icy regolith to the water processing plant.
  • Delivering power from the power plant to a water processing plant operating inside the crater. The water processing plant extracts and purifies water from the delivered material.
  • Delivering power from the power plant to an oxygen production plant operating outside the crater. The oxygen production plant extracts oxygen from the delivered material.

Solutions to this challenge will serve the immediate goal of achieving high capacity, adaptable, and reliable lunar power storage that can facilitate initial human presence on the Moon by 2024 and a more sustainable occupancy by 2028. Not only will novel solutions make a difference in lunar and space exploration, but technologies discovered during the Watts on the Moon competition will help facilitate the ability for new power innovations here on Earth as well.

To learn more about the mission activities, participant eligibility and documentation, and other submission requirements, as well as a full breakdown of prizes, visit the Guidelines here.

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