Nasa Wants Amateurs to Explore the Moon

Nasa’s next Centennial Challenge may send teams of amateur to the Moon. The space agency issued a Request for Information to get public commentary regarding two possible contests:

The first challenge will award up to $3,000,000 in cash prizes to registered competitors that are able to meet or exceed technical objectives for 1) propulsion, 2) communication, and 3) longevity while in lunar orbit.
The second challenge will award up to $1,500,00 in cash prizes to registered competitors that are able to meet or exceed technical objectives for 1) communication and 2) longevity beyond lunar distances. 

Contestants only need to worry about the spacecraft itself. Nasa will send them to the Moon on its first unmanned test launch of the Space Launch System and Orion capsule.

Nasa wants feedback on the contest structure and the rules. Besides responses from industry and academia, the space agency wants to hear from “innovators and enthusiasts”. The number of serious responses Nasa receives will give the agency a measure of interest in the new challenge. If you think you have what it takes to build an amateur deep space mission, let Nasa know!

(Via New Space Journal)