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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

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1737-BWB-2012-03-16.mp3

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.

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Josh Neubert, Friday, 12-16-11 December 16, 2011

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Josh Neubert, Friday, 12-16-11

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1673-BWB-2011-12-16.mp3

 Guest:  Josh Neubert.  Topics:  Night Rover Challenge, NASA Centennial Challenges, educational outreach.  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.  The Space Show/OGLF is now engaged in its annual fundraising drive. Please see & act upon our appeal at https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/space-show-2011-fundraising-campaign.  We welcomed Josh Neubert back to the program to discuss the  NASA Centennial Challenge, The Night Rover Challenge.  Please visit these websites for more information and email alerts:  www.nightrover.org and www.nasa.gov/offices/oct/early_stage_innovation/centennial_challenges/night_rover/index.html.  This was a one hour discussion without a break.  Josh started out by describing the Night Rover Challenge which is to develop mobile systems to collect solar energy, store that energy, and later use it productively.  The innovation will consolidate in a contest for simulated lunar rovers maximizing energy to run for two weeks day and night and survive the cold lunar night.  Josh told us about the Challenge time line and the sole focus on solar power and storage.  As you will hear, the prize is $1.5 million with first, second, and third place winners.  Terry asked technical questions about the potential battery packs and the maximum size of the rovers.  We learned that the biggest size would probably be in the range of the Curiosity rover on the way to Mars with a much smaller size on the other end of the measurements.  Michael asked if the power sources would be required to meet the legal standards required under international law to preserve the environment of outer space in regards to potential hazardous materials that may contaminate the outer space environment. Josh said yes, those standards would be part of the requirements for the competition.  Several listeners asked if non-U.S. citizens could participate in the Challenge and if there were ITAR considerations.  We learned that non-U.S. citizens could participate but were not eligible to win the prize money.  I asked who was most likely to participate in the challenge. Josh suggested students of all ages and grades, plus the do it yourself community, entrepreneurs, smaller businesses, etc.  We also talked about sponsorship opportunities as NASA does not cover operating expenses.  Another listener asked about the use of social media for the Night Rover outreach program.  As you will hear, this Challenge will make use of both social media and collaboration in getting the message out and participants in the challenge.  Near the end of the program, we discussed the proximity ofSilicon Valley, NASA Ames, and the significance of these communities to all the contestants involved in the challenge.  Josh closed by stressing how this program inspires, excites, and jump starts the best and the brightest to innovate, be creative, and to produce!  If you have questions about the Night Rover Challenge, there is a contact link on their website.  Please post your Space Show comments/questions on the blog URL above.