NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is looking for entries of designs for these little scientific payloads for its rovers and has launched a crowdsourcing project called "Honey, I Shrunk the NASA Payload" on herox.com.
The winner takes home $160,000, and a pretty great achievement.
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Dream BIG (or small) in our mini moon payload design challenge! Click the link for more information on "Honey, I Shrunk the NASA Payload" https://t.co/sVs0G8OPrk— NASA Solve (@NASASolve) April 9, 2020
Typical payloads are pretty bulky, heavy, and require a fair bit of power to run. This time around, NASA's JPL is looking for payloads that are different. These should be no bigger or heavier than a bar of soap, at a maximum of 100 millimeters by 100 millimeters by 50 millimeters (3.9 inches by 3.9 inches by 1.9 inches), and not weigh more than 0.4 kilograms (0.8 pounds).
"Smaller payloads are game-changing," said Sabah Bux, a JPL technologist. "They will allow us to develop technologies to do more prospecting and science on smaller, more mobile platforms."
The hope is that the designs that this project generates will pave the way for next-generation instruments, sensors, technologies, and experiments for the upcoming 2024 lunar expedition.
Entries have already opened and can be submitted until June 1st via the crowdsourcing platform. The winner, or winning team, takes home $160,000.
Honey, I Shrunk the @NASA Payload— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) April 9, 2020
We need YOUR ideas for science tools that could fit inside a tiny package no bigger than a bar of soap to be carried by a small lunar rover. Your entry could help future #Artemis astronauts on the Moon. Enter by June 1: https://t.co/qNNpoFEoFv pic.twitter.com/KmQQA3TSbn