National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) released earlier this month the winners of its ‘Honey, I Shrunk the NASA Payload’ challenge. The contest, which is an homage to the late 80’s film, ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’, set out to find the technologies from the general public deemed to be useful for future missions to Luna, our planet’s moon.
Honey, I Shrunk the @NASA Payload— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) April 9, 2020
We need YOUR ideas for science tools that could fit inside a tiny package no bigger than a bar of soap to be carried by a small lunar rover. Your entry could help future #Artemis astronauts on the Moon. Enter by June 1: https://t.co/qNNpoFEoFv pic.twitter.com/KmQQA3TSbn
NASA called on participants to submit their designs to reduce each space mission’s payload for launch. Decreasing each payload would save the agency fuel and money, therefore deemed beneficial for future launches. The competition specified that entries should not exceed 4 inches by 4 inches by 2 inches (10 centimeters by 10 centimeters by 5 centimeters) and should not weigh more than 0.8 lbs (0.4 kilograms).
Congratulations, “Honey, I Shrunk the NASA Payload” challenge winners! Their tiny tech to scout hard-to-reach areas may help @NASA sustain a human presence on the Moon. Participate in a moderated discussion with the challenge team, hosted by @iamherox: https://t.co/jzQ5KmzG9G pic.twitter.com/LhWUA3AJM9— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) July 14, 2020
Budapest-based Puli Space Technologies Team won the Lunar Space Potential category with its design titled ‘Puli Lunar Water Snooper'. The design, aimed at mapping hydrogen on the moon, helped the team gain the cash prize of $30,000.
Meanwhile, ‘Sun Slicer’ of Team Sun Slicer, snagged the prize for the ‘Lunar Environment’ category. They also took home the same cash prize as their Hungarian peers.
Other winners in different categories are published on the NASA JPL site.
Sabah Bux, a technologist at JPL, was quoted remarking how the entries ‘were outstanding’ on a report on the site Space.com. “These designs could help NASA sustain a human presence on the moon and enable new science,” she added.
The contest was funded by NASA’s Lunar Surface Innovation Initiative under the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).