Written by Bella Dalima
21 Feb, 2015 | 3:58 pm
NASA has announced the winners of its first Mars Balance Mass Challenge that asked for design ideas for small science and technology payloads that could provide dual purpose as ejectable balance masses on spacecraft entering the Martian atmosphere.
Texas-based Ted Ground was awarded $20,000 for this idea to study the Martian atmosphere by releasing material that could be seen and studied by other Martian spacecraft in orbit and on the ground.
A team of engineers from Grand Rapids, Michigan, received an honourable mention and $5,000 for their idea to study Martian weather by looking at wind patterns near the planet’s surface.
The Mars Balance Mass Challenge was announced in September 2014.
The payloads would serve two roles: perform scientific or technology functions that help us learn more about the Red Planet and provide the necessary weight to balance planetary landers.
Submissions to the challenge ranged from analysing Martian weather or the Martian surface, to demonstrating new technologies such as 3D printing or parachutes, to pre-positioning supplies for future human missions on the planet’s surface.
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