NASA Is Looking for Venus Rover Designs, the Winner Will Take $15,000 Home

The concept will have to be able to survive temperatures above 450 degrees Celsius.
Fabienne Lang

It's time to explore Hell. NASA is looking for candidates to submit their ideas and concepts for a rover to send to Venus. 

Given the planet's exceedingly high temperatures and surface pressure, the design will have to be sturdier than anything that's been built before. The winner will bring home glory, and $15,000


Never achieved before

"With a surface temperature in excess of 840 degrees Fahrenheit and a surface pressure 90 times that of Earth, Venus can turn lead into a puddle and crush a nuclear-powered submarine with ease," said NASA

It's no wonder the space agency has not yet managed to send a rover that survived Venus' unwelcoming environment. 

"While many missions have visited our sister planet, only about a dozen have made contact with the surface of Venus before quickly succumbing to the oppressive heat and pressure," continued NASA

Now, NASA's JPL is working hard to send a rover to the hellish planet using an Automaton Rover for Extreme Environments (AREE). 

This is where you come in. 

NASA's challenge

NASA believes that "good ideas can come from anywhere, and that prize competitions are a great way to engage the public's interest and ingenuity and make space exploration possible for everyone."

NASA Is Looking for Venus Rover Designs, the Winner Will Take $15,000 Home
Venus, Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

So, the space agency has opened up the challenge to the public. You don't need to have an engineering degree or any Space-related expertise, you just need to have a curious and innovative mind.

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The winner will take home $15,000, the runner up will win $10,000, and third place will get $5,000.

The challenge won't be an easy one, though. As NASA points out "Current state-of-the-art electronics fail at just over 250 degrees Fahrenheit and would easily succumb to the extreme Venus environment."

Moreover, the rover will have to be able to deal with slopes greater than 30 degrees uphill and downhill, tall rocks, yet not trigger when encountering smaller rocks. There are many, many requirements. 

NASA Is Looking for Venus Rover Designs, the Winner Will Take $15,000 Home
AREE needs designs that don't require electronics, Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA

Why bother exploring such an unwelcoming planet?

NASA's next science missions are dead set on visiting and learning more about Venus, Io, and Triton.

Exploring Venus' surface could help scientists understand its evolution, especially as it is considered a sibling planet to Earth. It'll also help to better understand Earth's climate. 

So, get your thinking caps on and start sending your ideas to NASA before May 29, 2020.

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