To be the cutting edge of innovation in engineering and design of new deep space habitats
Space news (New space technology: deep space habitats; 2016 X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge) – NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) division headquarters –
In one scenario of the Desert Research and Technology Studies in the Arizona desert, a test subject returns to a mock way station. Credit: NASA
NASA engineers, scientists, and systems designers are hard at work creating the next-generation habitats needed to travel and live in space and one day inhabit Mars. Deep within NASA’s Desert Research and Technology Studies (Desert RATS) test site in Arizona, they have assembled the 2011 version of the deep space habitat. A futuristic space habitat featuring a Habitat Demonstration Unit with X-Hab loft, a second story habitation designed and built by a team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as part of the 2011 X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge.
The X-Hab Academic Challenge program’s designed and implemented to help get graduate and undergraduate level university students directly involved in the development of deep space technology capable of allowing humans to live and travel in space and eventually colonize Mars. Students are encouraged to develop and implement skills and knowledge in all areas and disciplines, team up with industry and experts and actively engage the world in a conversation concerning their work. All in an effort to improve and develop science knowledge, technical ability, leadership qualities and project skills of students selected and encourage further studies in space industry disciplines.
“These strategic collaborations lower the barrier for university students to assist NASA in bridging gaps and increasing our knowledge in architectural design trades, capabilities, and technology risk reduction related to exploration activities that will eventually take humans farther into space than ever before,” said Jason Crusan, director of NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) division.
The teams and projects selected as part of NASA’s X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge are listed below.
AES’s In-space Manufacturing division sponsorships are:
The University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez is working on the development of new low-power technology required for the manufacture of metals in zero-gravity environments
AES’s Beyond Earth Habitation division sponsorships are:
The University of Maryland, College Park is working on next-generation airlocks that are inflatable
Students from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York are working on habitat designs to keep astronauts safe and warm during their trip to the Red Planet
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater students are doing studies on deep space habitats suitable for a trip to the Red Planet
AES’s Life Support Systems division sponsorships are:
Students from the University of South Alabama, Mobile are working on a new concentration swing frequency response device
AES’s Space Life and Physical Sciences division sponsorships are:
Students from Utan State University, Logan are designing new experimental plant systems for microgravity environments
The team from Ohio State University, Columbus is working on improving water delivery in modular vegetable production systems needed to provide astronauts with food during their journey and life on Mars
The team from the University of Colorado-Boulder, Boulder is working on improving the performance of the Mars OASIS Space Plant Growth System
The X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge is led by NASA and the National Space Grant Foundation in an effort to enable the human journey to the beginning of space and time. The program supports space science research efforts to develop sustainable and cost-effective robotic and human space technology to make our journey possible. It also helps train and develop highly skilled scientists, engineers, and technicians needed to design and implement technology developed to travel and live in space.
Partners in space exploration
NASA lends its scientists, engineers and space exploration technology, and experience to the X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge. The National Space Grant Foundation administers the grants provided by NASA, which range from $10,000 to $30,000, to fund the building, development and final evaluation of each project selected and completed during the 2015-2016 academic year.
Find more information on previous X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenges here.
Join the conversation and space journey of NASA.
Find out more about the work of the National Space Grant Foundation here.