NASA is enlisting university students in its quest for solar power systems that can operate on Mars both day and night.

These systems need to be efficient, reliable and cost-effective.

NASA’s Game Changing Development Program (GCD), and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) are seeking novel concepts that emphasize innovative mechanical design, low mass, and high efficiency, with operational approaches that assure sustained power generation on the Mars surface for many years.

The goal is to have a reliable operating power source in place before astronauts ever step foot on the surface of Mars. That means solar array designs will need to fit compactly into a single cargo launch, have the capability to deploy robotically on the surface, and begin producing power soon after landing.

The teams will have until November to submit their proposals. Interested teams of three to five undergraduate and/or graduate students are asked to submit robust proposals and a two-minute video describing their concepts by Nov. 30.

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