NASA is seeking to challenge the GrabCAD Community to design a mobile lunar heliostat that can be used to support operations at the Artemis Base Camp by redirecting solar energy where it is most needed. The Lunar Tele-Operated Rover-based Configurable Heliostat (Lunar TORCH) system serves as a cost effective multi-purpose tool for lunar operations by manipulating a critical resource (sunlight).
1. Avoid concepts that require direct human contact or custom robotics to help with deployment.
2. Avoid concepts that are extremely complex as this adversely impacts fabrication, reliability, and increases risk.
3. Avoid concepts that cannot handle lunar dust (i.e. telescoping tubes can seize if contaminated with the very abrasive lunar dust although a one-time use for deployment is OK).
Contest submissions must include:
Additional features of a mobile heliostat would likely include:
1. Solar array that provides power to charge onboard batteries and avionics
2. Sun sensors for pointing knowledge
3. 2 axis Sun tracking motors
4. Deployment/locking mechanisms (springs, latches, hinges, motors, etc.)
5. External Power Connector: The system must survive the lunar night and may have a connector to an external power source where it would dock when not in use.
6. Wireless Communication System: The system is expected to be teleoperated from a pre-deployed local wireless network that will manage communications from the Earth if human operators are not at the Artemis base camp. A high gain antenna for direct communication from Earth is not expected. Assume that the system will operate in an area with small rocks/craters which operators will avoid via onboard navigation cameras. The system will likely be operated on slopes (such as crater aprons) in order to illuminate areas that are in deep shadow.
The overall system (including the rover) should fit into a package that is 2m long X 1.5m wide X 1.5m high. This is a reasonable scale for a basic heliostat system that could provide valuable support. Although a system that can focus the sunlight on to a small/distant target is advantageous for many applications, it is not required in this design iteration. However, to be effective, the heliostat subsystem design must minimize the dispersion of the sunlight so that energy is not lost. This requires very flat surfaces. A successful outcome of this contest are 3D models and graphics, and/or animations of an effective heliostat subsystem that is integrated onto a basic rover. These will be used to communicate the different concepts and will be considered for further
ENTERING THE COMPETITION:
Submitting an Entry
AWARDING THE WINNERS
The sum of the Awards is the total gross amount of the reward. The awarded participant is solely liable for the payment of all taxes, duties, and other similar measures if imposed on the reward pursuant to the legislation of the country of his/her residence, domicile, citizenship, workplace, or any other criterion of similar nature. Only 1 award per person. Prizes may not be transferred or exchanged. All winners will be contacted by the GrabCAD staff to get their contact information and any other information needed to get the prize to them. Payment of cash awards is made through Checks mailed to the Winners. All team awards will be transferred to the member who entered the Challenge. Vouchers will be provided in the form of Stratasys Direct Manufacturing promo codes.
We will release the finalists before the announcement of the winners to give the Community an opportunity to share their favorites in the comments, discuss concerns, and allow time for any testing or analysis by the Jury. The Jury will take the feedback into consideration when picking the winners.
Winning designs will be chosen based on the Rules and Requirements schedule.
$7000 in Total Prizes
This contest supports NASA’s Lunar Surface Innovation Initiative. This study is sponsored by the NASA’s Prizes, Challenges, and Crowdsourcing Program and was selected through the competitive Crowdsourcing Contenders Call for challenge ideas. The study will help inform lunar mission architects who are currently selecting the systems that will be used to support the Artemis Base Camp.