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Break the Ice Lunar Challenge

This view of the north polar region of the Moon was obtained by Galileo's camera during the spacecraft's flyby of the Earth-Moon system on December 7 and 8, 1992.

The NASA Break the Ice Lunar Challenge is designed to develop new technologies that could support a sustained human presence on the Moon by the end of the decade.

Under NASA’s Artemis program, the agency is eager to learn all it can about the presence of water on the Moon in advance of sending the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024 and establishing a sustainable human presence there by the end of the decade.

NASA has identified several technology gaps related to harvesting and moving large quantities of resources on the Moon, including hardware capable of operating in the extreme cold and permanent to near-permanent darkness. Robotic systems for excavation will need to withstand the harsh environments inside permanently shadowed regions at the lunar South Pole, where ice has been observed and the targeted landing site for crewed Artemis missions.

The Break the Ice Lunar Challenge is a NASA Centennial Challenge, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Centennial Challenges are part of the Prizes and Challenges program within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. NASA has contracted Ensemble Consultancy to support the management of competitors for this challenge.

NASA Taps AAMU to Host Break the Ice Lunar Challenge

NASA has selected Alabama A&M University’s Agribition Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to host the final level of the agency’s , using indoor and outdoor space to ground test the finalists’ solutions.

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An external image of the Alabama A&M University Agribition Center from the front facade. The Center is a cream-colored stone building with a curved roof, floor-to-ceiling windows, and concrete steps that lead to a covered awning, framed by deep-red structural beams above. Shrubs and crepe myrtle trees frame the foreground and steps leading up to the building. Photo courtesy of AAMU Extension


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Break the Ice Challenge Details

Find out details on how to enter and register the challenge, the rules and eligibility, and how you could help with lunar exploration.

Visit the Website about Break the Ice Challenge Details
A NASA artist's illustration of Artemis astronauts working on the Moon.