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NASA Setting Up $250,000 Mars Lander Competition 44

coondoggie (973519) writes "NASA this week said it is exploring setting up one of its iconic Centennial Challenge competitions for companies to build a robotic Mars landing spacecraft. NASA said it would expect to have about $250,000 worth of prize money for a robotic spacecraft that could land on the Red Planet, retrieve a sample and return it to orbit."
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NASA Setting Up $250,000 Mars Lander Competition

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @03:38AM (#46722839)

    RTFA. The requirements are actually pretty easy -- they're just hoping for some outside the box thinking from amateur rocket guys.
    This is the adult equivalent of the egg drop challenge with points going to originality.

  • by GrumpySteen ( 1250194 ) on Friday April 11, 2014 @09:05AM (#46724173)

    You clearly didn't read the actual challenge [].

    The Challenge would award prizes for successful demonstration of an end-to-end autonomous operation to sequentially accomplish the following tasks: picking up the sample, inserting the sample into a single stage rocket in a horizontal position, erecting the rocket, launching the rocket to an altitude not less than 800m, deploying a sample container with the cache internally sealed and landing the container at less than 6m/s terminal velocity.

    $50,000 will be awarded to the team with the lowest total system mass that completes all tasks.

    The goal is not to get someone to build a Mars lander for $250k. The goal is to get get amateurs to think about innovative ideas for how to solve some of the problems in the hope that some of those ideas will be useful when NASA designs a real lander.

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.