Historically, competitions and prizes such as those executed by the NASA Centennial Challenges (CC) program have created broader avenues through which to spur innovation from unlikely sources. In 2005, Congress amended the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 to authorize NASA to create challenges through which prizes could be awarded to United States citizens or entities that succeeded in meeting the challenge objectives. Over the past 13 years, the CC program has initiated more than 19 challenges in a variety of technology areas, including propulsion, robotics, communications and navigation, human health, science instrumentation, nanotech, materials/structures and aerodynamics. This paper will discuss the status and the accomplishments of the CC program and discuss results of an ideation process designed to identify and formulate topics for a potential Centennial Challenge competition targeting a life support technology gap for future long-term exploration missions. Status of this challenge formulation process with information on how to use crowdsourcing tools will be discussed. An overview of the CC Programs accomplishments, including strategic objectives, past challenges, and current challenge development and execution. This program exemplifies the values that have formed the bedrock of the culture at NASA since the beginning: innovation, imagination, and a passion for exploration.
Man/System Technology and Life Support
International Conference on Environmental Systems; Jul 07, 2019 - Jul 11, 2019; Boston, MA; United States