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NASA may one day send mini rovers to the Moon in addition to its VIPERs, and in doing so hopes to include tiny scientific payloads aboard them. This is where you come in.
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.
SEE ALSO: IT'S TIME TO NAME THE MARS 2020 ROVER AND NADA IS LOOKING FOR SUGGESTIONS
Scout the Moon's surface
NASA is looking to send these little scouting rovers to the Moon as they'll provide expedition flexibility and will collect important data from the Moon's surface, environment, and resources.
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.
— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) April 9, 2020