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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

NASA Earth & Space Air Prize

Catalyze aerosol technology development for use in space and on Earth

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $250,000
Type of Challenge: Scientific
Partner Agencies | Non-federal: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Submission Start: 09/19/2017 09:00 AM ET
Submission End: 01/31/2018 06:00 PM ET

This challenge is externally hosted.

You can view the challenge details here:


NASA is launching the Earth and Space Air Prize with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to develop innovative technology that can help improve air quality and health in space and on Earth. Airborne particulate matter in aerosols can contribute to a variety of human health problems such as asthma and respiratory tract irritation. NASA needs small, easy-to-maintain, inexpensive aerosol sensors for missions aboard the International Space Station and future deep space exploration. There is a similar need in Earth communities for robust, versatile, easily installed, efficient and affordable air quality sensors. Multiple miniaturized gas sensors are currently available; however, instruments that measure particulate matter with appropriate accuracy for these applications still require some research and development. The aim for this challenge is to advance the development of aerosol sensor technologies useful in both human space flight as well as on Earth, and for NASA to develop a sensor that can be flown in a future flight experiment. TO REGISTER GO TO:


First Place Winner
Cash Prize Amount: $100000

Finalist (1 of 3)
Cash Prize Amount: $50000
One of three finalists that will receive $50,000 to build a functioning sensor according to their submitted proposals.

Finalist (2 of 3)
Cash Prize Amount: $50000
One of three finalists that will receive $50,000 to build a functioning sensor according to their submitted proposals.

Finalist (3 of 3)
Cash Prize Amount: $50000
One of three finalists that will receive $50,000 to build a functioning sensor according to their submitted proposals.


  1. Eligibility
NASA welcomes applications from individuals, teams, and organization or entities that have a recognized legal existence and structure under applicable law (State, Federal or Country) and that are in good standing in the jurisdiction under which they are organized with the following restrictions:
  1. Individuals must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States and be 18 years of age or older.
  2. Organizations must be an entity incorporated in and maintaining a primary place of business in the United States.
  3. Teams must be comprised of otherwise eligible individuals or organizations, and led by an otherwise eligible individual or organization.
U.S. government employees may participate so long as they rely on no facilities, access, personnel, knowledge or other resources that are available to them as a result of their employment except for those resources available to all other participants on an equal basis. U.S. government employees participating as individuals, or who submit applications on behalf of an otherwise eligible organization, will be responsible for ensuring that their participation in the Competition is permitted by the rules and regulations relevant to their position and that they have obtained any authorization that may be required by virtue of their government position.  Failure to do so may result in the disqualification of them individually or of the entity which they represent or in which they are involved. Foreign citizens may only participate as (i) employees of an otherwise eligible US entity who reside in the US, (ii) full-time students at an otherwise eligible US university or college who reside in the US, or (iii) owners of less than 50% of the interests in an otherwise eligible US entity who reside in the US. Registered competitors shall be responsible for the actions of and compliance with the rules by their employees, subcontractors, officers, owners, and other affiliated persons.
  1. Ineligible persons or entities
Federal entities or Federal employees acting within the scope of their employment are not eligible to win an award. Employees of NASA, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, RAMPIT, The Common Pool, LLC, and any of their subsidiaries and affiliates, and immediate family members (spouse, parent, child, sibling and their respective spouses, regardless of where they live) or persons living in the same households of such employees, are not eligible.
  1. No use of government funds
No U.S. government funds may be used to prepare your submission.
  1. Distribution of an Award to a Team
If a team of individuals and/or entities is selected as a Finalist, one payment of $50,000 will be made to the person who registered the team and submitted the application. That person is responsible for ensuring the award funds are appropriately distributed to each member of the team.
  1. Distribution of an Award to an Organization
If an organization is selected as a Finalist, one payment of $50,000 will be made to the person who registered the organization and submitted the application. You warrant that the appropriate officers, executives, managers, or other persons who have the authority to approve participation in this competition have approved Your Entry and You understand that these terms will be binding on both You and your Entity. Furthermore, You understand that if You enter without obtaining the appropriate approval, NASA may, in its sole discretion, disqualify your Entry. Finally, if an entity is selected to receive an award, an officer or person entitled to bind the entity will be required to validate that You are entitled to receive the award on the behalf of the entity and the officer or person entitled to bind the entity must provide the appropriate information for payment of the award.
  1. Treatment and Use of Intellectual Property
Each application should reflect the anticipated ownership, use, and licensing of any intellectual property. You represent and warrant that your Entry is an original work created solely by You, that You own all Intellectual Property in and to the Entry, and that no other party has any right, title, claim or interest in the Entry, except as expressly identified by You to us in writing in Your application. You retain all right, title and interest in any inventions, software or work of authorship You invent or create. The ownership and use of intellectual property arising from this competition remains with You. NASA may choose to negotiate for a license to use the solutions developed as a result of this competition.
  1. Other Rules
7.1     Your application must be in English. 7.2      You must complete registration to participate in the Competition. Individuals must be 18 years of age or older at the time of entry to participate either individually or by representing an applicant organization. You cannot reside in nor be governed by countries that are prohibited by law, regulation (including United States or other applicable export laws and regulations), treaty or administrative act from entering into trade relations (including export of technology) with the United States of America or its citizens. 7.3    Your Entry should meet the application requirements stipulated on this website. You are required to register in advance of any deadlines for the submission of an Entry, and You must comply with all other deadlines posted on this website. Your Entry may not, in the sole and unfettered discretion of NASA and/or RAMPIT, contain obscene, provocative, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable or inappropriate content. NASA reserves the right to cancel, modify or suspend Competition in whole or in part without liability to You. NASA and/or RAMPIT also reserves the right to disqualify You from participating. 7.4     By participating in the Earth & Space Air Prize Challenge, You represent, warrant, and agree that:
  1. You are the sole author, creator, and owner of the Entry;
  2. the Entry is not the subject of any actual or threatened litigation or claim;
  3. the Entry does not and will not violate or infringe upon the intellectual property rights, privacy rights, publicity rights, or other legal rights of any third party;
  4. the Entry does not and will not contain any harmful computer code (sometimes referred to as "malware," "viruses" or "worms"); and
  5. the Entry, and Your use of the Entry, does not and will not violate any applicable laws or regulations, including, without limitation, applicable export control laws and regulations of the United States and other jurisdictions. If the Entry includes any third party works (such as third party content or open source code), You must provide the Competition Sponsor with all appropriate licenses and releases for such third party works. In the event You cannot provide all such required licenses and releases, the Competition Sponsor reserves the right, in the Competition Sponsor's sole discretion, to disqualify the applicable Entry.
7.5     You may participate by registering, but You may not register more than one true and uniform identity; multiple registrations for a participant using multiple identities are not allowed. NASA and/or RAMPIT reserve the right to disqualify any Entry made by a participant violating this limitation, regardless of whether all of the respective parties had knowledge of such violation. You may only submit one Entry. 7.6      The application requirements for your Entry are clearly described on this website. Your Entry will be assessed initially by five reviewers, who will be assigned to score your Entry either randomly or after considering any potential conflicts of interest, using the scoring rubric and any other judging criteria that are also described on this website. In cases where a Judge indicates any potential conflict of interest, the Entry will be assigned to another Judge. Those Judges, each of whom is named on this website, will be responsible for scoring your Entry. The Selection Committee judges are permitted to communicate with Participants solely for the purposes of carrying out due diligence for evaluating your Entry and assigning a score during the review process, but those Judges are not required to contact directly any individual. The judging criteria are to be applied in the sole discretion of the Judges. By participating in the Earth & Space Air Prize, You acknowledge and agree to be bound by the final decision of the Judges. 7.7      Once a rank order of Entries has been calculated, the top three Competitors will be named as Finalists. Finalists will be asked to attend a one-week demonstration period, currently scheduled for the week of October 2, 2018, where they will present and test their prototype. Finalists may be asked to prepare additional materials in advance or upon the date of the event or shortly thereafter. You will be required to respond to any invitations to attend any events as promptly and as clearly as possible. If a Finalist is unable to attend the demonstration, then they may forfeit their award, and the next Competitor in the rank order of Entries may be named a Finalist in their place. 7.8     The Selection Committee will be present during the demonstration period to review and discuss the Finalists’ prototypes and will determine the Winner using judging criteria that may not incorporate the same scoring rubric employed by the previous assessment. 7.9      While RAMPIT, LLC (“RAMPIT”) is providing an online platform for your participation, RAMPIT is not responsible for the payment of any Award(s). Payment of any Award(s) is the sole responsibility of NASA and its designees, and under the Terms each participant has agreed to look solely to NASA, as the Competition Sponsor, for the payment of any Award. 7.10     By submitting your Entry, you agree to release, discharge and hold harmless NASA, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Common Pool, LLC, and RAMPIT and their partners, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising agencies, agents and their employees, officers, directors and representatives from any Loss arising out of your participation in Competition and the acceptance and use, misuse, or possession of any Award(s). Neither NASA, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Common Pool, LLC, nor RAMPIT assume responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, or delay in operation or transmission; communications line failure; theft or destruction of or unauthorized access to Competition entries or entry forms; or alteration of entries or entry forms. Neither NASA, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Common Pool, LLC, nor RAMPIT are responsible for any problems with or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any entry to be received on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or any website, human errors of any kind, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to competitors’ or any other persons’ computers related to or resulting from participation, uploading or downloading of any materials related to this Competition. In the event of a dispute about the identity of any Competitor, an online registration will be declared as if made by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at time of entry. 7.11    THIS COMPETITION IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Competitors agree that this Competition shall be subject to and governed by the laws of the United States of America and the forum of any dispute shall be in the courts of the United States of America. 7.12     If for any reason Competition is not capable of running as planned, due to infection by computer virus, bugs, worms, Trojan horses, denial of service, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures or any other causes beyond the control of RAMPIT that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Competition, RAMPIT reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual(s) who tamper with the process, and/or to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Competition. If NASA and/or RAMPIT terminates the Competition, it will not retain any rights in the submitted Entries. 7.13    The Competition Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any Competitor who is found to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Earth & Space Air Prize, to be acting in violation of these Rules, or to be acting in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with the intent to disrupt or undermine the legitimate operation of the Earth & Space Air Prize, or to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any other person. 7.14     Entry into the Earth & Space Air Prize does not constitute entry into any other NASA competition, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Competition, RAMPIT competition, or promotion that may be offered by the Competition Sponsor and/or its affiliates. 7.15      NASA and/or RAMPIT reserves the right to disqualify any participant who violates these RULES, the Terms and any standards of behavior expressed or implied in them. 7.16       The names of the Finalists and Winner will be posted on this website for such period of time as the Competition Sponsor deems reasonable.