Solar energy is abundant on the surface of the Moon, but extended night hours – 350 consecutive hours — and the extreme environmental temperature change from daylight to nighttime, create problems for solar power use.
As NASA works to extend human exploration of the solar system, unprecedented capacity for energy distribution, management, and storage will be needed to support sustained human presence and the beginning of industrial activity.
Earth also addresses similar issues, where demand for additional renewable energy generation, including solar, is rising, but additional power management, distribution, and energy storage solutions are needed to address issues such as intermittency and resiliency.
NASA said that its “Watts on the Moon” competition could help facilitate new power options on Earth too.
HeroX, spin off of the XPRIZE Foundation, is the administrator of the challenge.
NASA’s goals for this challenge are twofold – to advance the technology for energy distribution, management, and storage for long term missions; and to engage with a broader community of energy and multidisciplinary experts for the advancement of space exploration.
A prize purse of up to $5 million will be awarded across two rounds of competition, HeroX said on its website.
Registration for Phase 1 opened on September 25. The winners of this phase will be announced on May 21 next year.