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NASA Tournament Lab to collaborate on human habitation in space
by Staff Writers
Cleveland OH (SPX) Oct 08, 2015

File image.

The global innovation firm NineSigma announced two Innovation Challenges they will run for NASA Tournament Lab; the Space Suit Textile Testing Challenge in collaboration with the Advanced Space Suit Project team and the In-Situ Materials Challenge in collaboration with the Kennedy Space Center and Swamp Works. The challenges leverage open innovation, advancing visionary aspirations for life in space, and interplanetary travel.

The Space Suit Textile Testing Challenge, which launched on October 5, 2015, seeks to develop standard test methodologies for assessing the wear performance of environmental protection garment (EPG) textiles for planetary exploration and offers three prizes of $5,000 for winning submissions.

Space suits today offer multi-layered protection from harsh space environments. As we move forward with human exploration, the outer protective layer's function must expand to withstand widely varying types of dirt in planetary environments like Mars or large asteroids. This spectrum of environments beyond low earth orbit requires tools for assessing the viability of candidate space suit textiles, which don't exist today.

The In-Situ Challenge, which launched today, seeks solutions to utilize surface-based materials like regolith (crushed basalt rock) for Earth and space fabrication and construction applications and offers a first-place prize of $10,000 and two second-place prizes of $2,500 for top submissions. Advances in technology and methodology can push towards the larger goal of exploration in extraterrestrial environments.

The utilization of native materials is a boon to construction whether Earth based or extraterrestrial. The benefits are dramatic for space exploration because in-situ regolith utilization (ISRU) will reduce the need for materials to be shipped from Earth, which creates additional useful payload mass for habitats, structural systems, life support systems, science equipment, and living provisions. ISRU could potentially save the agency more than $100,000 per kilogram at launch, making space pioneering more affordable and feasible.

NineSigma CEO, Dr. Andy Zynga said, "NineSigma is passionate about creating transformational breakthroughs, and we are proud to partner with the NASA Tournament Lab to find innovations that will reshape what we see as possible today in the world of space exploration and habitation."

These challenges are hosted on NineSigma's Open Innovation community NineSights and featured on and These challenges are provided through the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL), which works across NASA and the federal government to provide crowd-based challenges as a way to solve hard problems and get work done.

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Previous Report
NASA announces Challenge for Methods of Assessing Damage to Space Suits
Washington DC (SPX) Oct 08, 2015
Astronauts venturing beyond the controlled environment of a spacecraft require protection from the harsh conditions in space. They get that protection from a space suit, which is a multilayer garment specially designed to retain pressure, carry loads and offer structural support, and shield against the environment. NASA is seeking proposals for test methods or procedures to assess wear/dam ... read more

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