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NASA Centennial Challenges, Night Rover, Friday, 3-16-12 March 17, 2012

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NASA Centennial Challenges, Night Rover, Friday, 3-16-12

Featurinig Josh Neubert & Dr. Larry Cooper


Guests:  Josh Neubert, Dr. Larry Cooper.   Topics:  NASA Centennial Challenges and the Night Rover Challenge.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright.  We welcomed back Josh Neubert and for the first time, Dr. Larry Cooper, Program Executive for the NASA Centennial Challenges program.  You can learn more about Centennial Challenges by visiting www.nasa.gov/challenges. For more specific information on the Night Rover challenge, visit http://nightrover.org.  In our first segment, Dr. Cooper went over the history of NASA Centennial Challenges with a specific focus on the Night Rover Challenge.  We also talked about the two other challenges going on at this time, the Sample Return Robot Challenge and the Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge.  You can access the websites for these additional challenges from the NASA Centennial Challenge home page.  Dr. Cooper talked about some of the successes of the program, including the glove challenge won by Peter Homer who has been a guest on The Space Show.  Josh went into some of the details regarding Night Rover, specifically the draft Rules which are now out and open for comment.  Josh also talked about the Team Agreement.  He described the $1.5 million prize and the eligibility requirements for winning this prize.  He then talked about the three levels of storage battery density in terms of winning the prize.

In our second segment, Josh said it was opened for everyone from a garage entrepreneur to a large company.  Larry talked about ideas for future challenges and asked listeners to suggest ideas to NASA.  He then told listeners about the process for submitting future ideas, especially for the next five year.  Larry and Josh both referenced earlier successful Challenge programs plus a few that were retired without anyone winning them.  Several Challenge ideas came in from listeners including one on debris removal and Larry said that NASA Centennial Challenges was authorized to issue up to a $50 million purse!  We talked about ITAR issues and partnerships for prizes with other space agencies such as ESA.  Later in the segment, I asked about the history of prizes and our guests went as far back as the Longitude Prize regarding ocean navigation which was actually won by a clock maker. Other prizes and awards were mentioned in this historical review of the subject.  When asked for closing comments, Josh reminded us to provide feedback on the draft rules and Larry spoke highly of prices having a positive impact on entrepreneurs, being a plus for tax payer funding, and for pushing the envelope for discovery and advancements with technology.

If you have comments or questions for our guests, please post them on The Space Show blog URL above.  If you want to email either guest, please send your note to me and I will forward it to the person of your choice.



1. Andy Hill - March 20, 2012

Havent heard much about what is going on in NASA’s centennial challenge program for a while, it seems there are only a few challenges still running.

Not sure this is really needed as a lot of effort and money is being spent by the automotive industry for electric cars already.

Perhaps a challenge to produce a better lunar tyre might be a good idea as the ones I’ve seen seem to be a complicated mass of metal springs.

Another idea could be removing lunar dust from astronaut clothing

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