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Watts on the Moon - Phase 1

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $5,000,000
Type of Challenge: Ideas, Scientific
Partner Agencies | Federal: NASA Centennial Challenges and NASA Glenn Research Center
Partner Agencies | Non-federal: HeroX
Submission Start: 09/25/2020 09:00 AM ET
Submission End: 03/25/2021 05:00 PM ET


As NASA works to extend human exploration of the solar system, unprecedented capacity for electrical and thermal energy distribution, management, and storage will be needed to support sustained human presence and the beginning of industrial activity.

Solar energy is abundant on the lunar surface but extended night hours (350 consecutive hours) and extreme environmental temperature change from daylight to nighttime operation creates complexity for solar power use. Analogous issues arise on Earth, where demand for additional renewable energy generation, including solar, is rising, but additional power management, distribution, and energy storage solutions are needed to address intermittency and resiliency, among other issues.

In this Challenge, Teams will propose solutions for energy distribution, management, and/or storage that address NASA technology gaps and can progress toward flight readiness and future operation on the lunar surface. Such solutions may also have important synergies with terrestrial energy needs, and this Challenge is expected to help advance similar technologies for terrestrial application and commercialization.


Total Cash Prize Pool

Challenge total: Five million dollars ($5,000,000 USD) Phase 1 Total: Five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000 USD)

Prize Breakdown

Prize purses for Phase 1 will total up to $500,000. NASA will award up to three (3) 1st Place prize purses in the amount of $100,000 each to the winning Team in each Mission Activity (a total of $300,000). NASA may also award up to four (4) additional prize purses in the amount of $50,000 each to the next highest scoring Teams in one or more Mission Activities (a total of up to $200,000). Teams must meet or exceed a minimum score in order to be eligible for a prize.

Non-monetary Prizes

NASA is seeking to work with innovators across disciplines to find solutions that address a variety of needs on the lunar surface and will be exploring options to transport potential solutions to the Moon for testing, demonstration, and operation in the coming years.



Terms and Conditions:

Judging Criteria

The Challenge presents a Mission Scenario with three Mission Activities. Teams will choose one or more activities to address by proposing an energy distribution, management, and/or storage solution. Teams are eligible for a prize purse for each Mission Activity that they address. For example, in Phase 1, a Team that addresses three Mission Activities will be eligible for three prize purses.

In Phase 1, Teams will submit a concept design for their proposed solution. Following the submission deadline, the Judging Panel will review the Phase 1 Submissions and meet (in-person or on video conference) to discuss, evaluate, and rank the Teams. The Judging Panel will evaluate Phase 1 Submissions on the following five (5) factors:

  • Scientific/Technical Merit
  • Addresses the Mission Scenario and Mission Activities
  • Feasibility of Proposed System
  • System Fabrication and Test Plans
  • Bonus: Relevance to Terrestrial Applications

Teams must score at least 50 points in order to be eligible for a prize purse.

How to Enter

All interested teams must register on the official challenge ( by the given deadline and meet the eligibility requirements as stated in the Official Rules in order to participate in the Challenge.

Point of Contact

Have feedback or questions about this challenge? Send the challenge manager an email