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Waste to Base Materials Challenge: Sustainable Reprocessing in Space

Imagine you are on a mission to Mars. The journey to Mars and back is going to take two to three years, and there may not be any supply ships. To be as efficient and self-sufficient as possible, you will need to be able to recycle, repurpose, or reprocess things and make what you need from base materials. A completely efficient cycle is almost impossible, and some waste will have to be jettisoned to reduce mass and free up space inside the spacecraft. But ideally, you will have little to almost no waste since everything gets broken down and remade into new things.  There are a lot of different kinds of waste on a spacecraft. What are the different ways that those useless waste streams can be repurposed? This challenge is all about finding ways to convert waste into base materials and other useful things, like propellant or feedstock for 3D printing.  We are looking for your ideas for how to convert different waste streams into useful materials that can then be made into needed things and cycled through multiple times – and we are looking for ideas to convert waste into propellant.  Eventually, we would like to integrate all the different processes into a robust ecosystem that allows a spacecraft to launch from Earth with the lowest possible mass.

Award: $24,000 in total prizes

Open Date: January 18, 2022

Close Date: March 15, 2022

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