This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

Winning concepts to further journey to mars

11 March 2016

NASA announced the winners of two challenges to create new concepts for construction and human habitation on future space exploration missions.

Image courtesy of NASA

The Space Suit Textile Testing and In-Situ Materials Challenges, managed for NASA by NineSigma, launched in October 2015 under the umbrella of the NASA Tournament Lab, yielded innovative concepts for spacesuit testing and in-situ building materials use for habitat construction.

“These two challenges offered the opportunity to think about two basic needs of exploration – protective suits and building materials – in a new way,” said Steve Rader, deputy manager of NASA’s Centre of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI). “Our journey to Mars will require innovations in design and technology; opening our process up to the public gives us more creative paths to follow.”

The Space Suit Textile Testing Challenge offered three prizes of $5,000 for winning ideas on how to test the outer protective layer of spacesuit material for performance in different kinds of planetary environments, such as like Mars or large asteroids. 

Winners for the Space Suit Textile Testing Challenge are:

• Evaluating space suit textile abrasion in planetary environments -- Ahilan Anantha Krishnan
• Cylindrical abrasion method -- Himel Barua, Thomas L. Collins, Riniah Foor, Evan Hess, Joey Stavale, Christopher Daniels, Heather Oravec, Janice Mather and M.J. Braun
• Point-of-failure based system using high velocity abrasives -- John Holler

The In-Situ Challenge sought solutions using surface materials like regolith -- crushed basalt rock -- for Earth and space fabrication and construction applications and offered a first-place prize of $10,000 and two second-place prizes of $2,500 for top submissions.

Using native materials for construction is tremendously beneficial for space exploration because in-situ regolith utilisation (ISRU) reduces the need for materials to be shipped from Earth, along with the expense and resources this requires. ISRU could potentially save the agency more than $100,000 per kilogram to launch, making space pioneering more cost-effective and feasible.

The winners for the In Situ Challenge are:

• 1st place: Planetary fabrication of complex metallic/ceramic objects with In-Situ resources -- Behrokh Khoshnevis
• 2nd place: Cold spray technology applied to building and repair -- David Espinosa and David Orlebeke
• 2nd place: Simultaneous exhaust-enabled ore reduction, separation and processing -- Patrick Donovan

“We are proud to have connected NASA with innovators that have immediately viable technical solutions in a variety of disciplines to accelerate NASA’s goals,” said NineSigma CEO, Andy Zynga. We are also pleased to have created opportunities for winners of these challenges to collaborate with NASA in shaping the future of space exploration.”

For more information on NASA challenges, visit:

Print this page | E-mail this page

Coda Systems