Once the humans reach the Mars, they will have to make use of any possible resource on the planet. Now, of course, we know that Red Planet doesn't really have very many resources that would help the humans to survive.
So, what the astronauts and scientists will have to do is turn the available resources on Mars into something that would be useful for their survival. No wonder, NASA has recently announced a CO2 Conversion Challenge. In this challenge, NASA is asking the teams of inventors and experts to devise a way to turn the carbon dioxide (CO2) into literally anything that would be helpful for humans. There is a huge prize for the winner, of course.
Primarily, NASA is asking the participating teams to come with a way to turn the CO2 into Glucose, however, it appears that one can approach the challenge from any direction they like and turn the CO2 into some other molecule that can be used to produce a variety of products that will be helpful for humans' survival on the Red Planet.
"Help us discover ways to develop novel synthesis technologies that use carbon dioxide (CO2) as the sole carbon source to generate molecules that can be used to manufacture a variety of products, including "substrates" for use in microbial bioreactors...Because CO2 is readily abundant within the Martian atmosphere, such technologies will translate into in-situ manufacturing of products to enable humans to live and thrive on the planet, and also be implemented on Earth by using both waste and atmospheric CO2 as a resource," states NASA.
If the inventors on Earth can come up with a brand new idea of turning CO2 into something useful, it will take the earthlings another step closer to the dream of colonizing the Red Planet.
Now, experts can participate in teams or individually. They will have to register by January 24 next year and apply officially by February 28, 2019. The judges will review each team's submitted plans and then five finalists would be awarded $50,000 each to develop working systems as per their plans.
The challenge doesn't end there. There would be phase two of the challenge. However, the American space agency has said that the details about that phase will be made public after the completion of the challenge's phase one. However, the prize money, as expected, would be more fo the winners of phase two. "Phase 2 will carry a prize purse of up to $750,000, for a total challenge prize purse of $1 million," states NASA.
"Future planetary habitats on Mars will require a high degree of self-sufficiency. This requires a concerted effort to both effectively recycle supplies brought from Earth and use local resources such as CO2, water and regolith to manufacture mission-relevant products. Human life support and habitation systems will treat wastewater to make drinking water, recover oxygen from CO2, convert solid wastes to useable products, grow food, and specially design equipment and packaging to allow reuse in alternate forms," explains NASA.
Do you think you have an idea? Hurry up and click here to know further details and register.