Visit the Challenge Details page for an overview and full details on the design parameters and testing environment.

Deliverables for Prospective Teams

Notice of Intent

Deadline: October 1, 2020

NOTICE OF INTENT GUIDELINES


Interested teams are encouraged to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to compete by the deadline in order to ensure an adequate number of reviewers.

The following information will be requested on the NOI submission form:

  • College/University name
  • Partnering universities (if any)
  • Contact information for the faculty advisor
  • Contact information for the team lead

Note: We understand that NOI’s are due early in the development process and teams will still be in the process of fleshing out many of the details of their concepts. We fully expect that teams’ concepts will change and evolve between the NOI and Proposal submissions, as in-depth research and analysis is conducted. Teams have the flexibility to change ideas as they work over the course of the semester, and the idea submitted in the NOI does not need to match the proposal submission.

NOIs are non-binding. If a team submits an NOI and then later decides not to participate in the competition, no further action is required.

Project Plan

Deadline: November 24, 2020

PROJECT PLAN GUIDELINES


Teams are responsible for the formatting and appearance of their Project Plan Proposals. Figures and tables must be in digital format. We recommend that teams use image files with a minimum dpi of 150.

  • 8 pages maximum (including figures, tables, and charts)
    • Cover page, references and appendices are excluded as a part of your 8-page total limit. They do not count toward the minimum or the maximum page limitations.
    • Appendices do NOT count toward the maximum page limit and are limited to references only. The judges are not obligated to read appendices, nor will the content of any appendix be considered in the overall Project Plan Proposal evaluation.
    • A table of contents is unnecessary
  • Project Plan Proposals should be single spaced
  • Please use fonts common to Macintosh and PC platforms, i.e., Times, Times New Roman, Helvetica, or Arial for text; Symbol for mathematical symbols and Greek letters.
  • Font size can be either 11 or 12 pt.
  • Margins should be a standard 1” (2.54 cm) all the way around (top, bottom, left, and right)
  • Project Plan Proposals should be submitted in PDF Format
  • File size cannot exceed 80 MB

Cover Page must include:

  • College/University name
  • Title/name of prototype
  • Full names of all team members along with their respective specialties and/or team role, major course of study, and academic level (undergraduate or graduate)
  • Faculty/industry advisor’s full name(s)
  • Graphic/Image of proposed system

Special note from the judges about Project Plans:

The Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge is focused on ways to assess subsurface depth and density profiles, mine through those layers and into ice deposits beneath, harvest water from that ice and collect it in a container. Whatever designs teams come up with to accomplish that goal, the technology should be designed as if it would be feasible for use off-Earth, and then modify it for the Earth-based technology demonstration at Langley next summer. NASA sponsors are looking for concepts that realistically demonstrate a system that could be used on the Moon or Mars. For example: even though the competition will take place here on Earth, please do not propose a concept with a ‘blow-dryer and a shop vacuum’, which would not be effective on the moon or Mars.

Teams must submit a detailed Project Plan outlining:

  • Team’s design of the following systems:
    • mechanical
    • electrical
    • programming
    • control
  • The physical characteristics and functional capabilities of the proposed water extraction and prospecting system (including filtration solutions)
  • A 3-D view drawing or solid model representation and dimensions of the overall system
  • A description of how the proposed prototype will mount to the lid/mounting platform.
  • A description of how the proposed system will successfully accomplish the competition tasks, including contingency plans
  • A detailed timeline including development, testing, and integration of all required systems (integration must be conducted prior to technical paper submission deadline)
  • The relevant past experience and capabilities of the team’s systems leads and facilities available for development of the water extraction and prospecting system
  • A brief discussion on the concept’s anticipated paths-to-flight on a mission to the Moon and Mars. Through this challenge, NASA sponsors are looking for concepts that realistically demonstrate a system that could be used on the Moon or Mars. Based on significant differences between on- and off-Earth operations, the paths-to flight description must address the critical modifications that would be made to the design if it were trying to: (1) extract water on Mars, and (2) prospecting for a digital core on the Moon. This includes, but is not limited to, considerations for temperature differences, energy/power limitations, and atmospheric pressure differences (i.e., challenges with sublimation). Several paragraphs will suffice.
    • The paths-to-flight description should be broken into two distinct sections:
      • Water Extraction on Mars: teams will discuss the significant differences between Mars and Earth operation environments and describe essential modifications that would be required for extracting water from subsurface ice on Mars.
      • Prospecting on the Moon: teams will discuss the significant differences between the Moon and Earth operational environments and describe essential modifications that would be required for prospecting for a digital core on the Moon.
  • Teams are also asked to propose suggested methods/mechanisms/approaches for making their individual testbeds a more accurate analog for better proof-of-concept testing (i.e., more “flight-like,” conditions). This could include, but is not limited to pressurizing your hole, adding vibration isolators to simulate a mobile platform on a rover, etc.
    • Note: these are theoretical proposed improvements to the analog testing environment only. If selected as finalists, teams will NOT be required to implement the improvements.
  • Clear adherence to the Design Constraints and Requirements
  • RETURNING TEAMS ONLY: Teams who are re-competing may use any of their previous design concepts for water extraction and/or prospecting for the digital core, but are asked to document any improvements, upgrades, enhancements, approaches, and modifications made to the overall design.
    • A returning team is defined as “returning” if they are using any part of a design their university previously used during an on-site technology demonstration for a previous RASC-AL Special Edition Challenge.
    • This section of the proposal is limited to 2 pages max and will not count toward the 8-page limit.

Project Plan Evaluation Criteria:

  • Description of how prototype system will accomplish required tasks (Max – 20 points)
  • Description of concept’s 2 anticipated “Paths-to-Flight” (Max 20 points)
    • Water Extraction of subsurface ice on Mars
    • Prospecting on the Moon
  • Technical merit and feasibility of project plan (including lessons learned) (Max – 20 points)
  • Project plan capability – degree to which team can accomplish tasks (Max – 20 points)
  • Adherence to project plan guidelines (Max – 10 points)
  • Proposed “flight-like” testbed enhancements (Max 5 points)
  • Innovation (Max 5 points)

Please note: all design solutions are subject to review by NASA safety and Center Ops, and as a result, designs may be required to be modified. These reviews will happen immediately following selection of the finalist teams, with mitigations due at the mid-term.

Submitting the Project Plan:

To upload your project plan (.pdf file), please click on the button below to complete the online project plan submission form. Teams are encouraged to review the Design Constraints and Requirements section to better understand what your system must accomplish as a part of the competition.

No revisions can be accepted after the submission deadline, so please proof your project plan file very carefully before submitting. If there are any technical problems with the content of your project plan (for example, your file was corrupted), we will try to contact you immediately, so it is very important that you provide us with up-to-date contact information on the submission form.

Late proposals will not be accepted, and the submission form will close promptly at midnight.

The following information will be requested on the Project Plan submission form:

  • College/University name
  • Partnering universities (if any)
  • Contact information for the faculty advisor
  • Contact information for the team lead
  • Project Title (Name of team’s prototype)
  • File upload for PDF proposal document
  • Description of System in 400 characters or less (see Examples)
  • Signed MMIP Letter of University Support* from the Dean of Engineering (or appropriate alternative authority from the lead university)
  • Mailing address for stipend checks (for use if a team is selected as a finalist in the competition). We can mail stipend checks to the university location of your choice (i.e., Office of Sponsored Programs, Departments of Engineering, etc.)
  • Vendor W9 Form* for the lead university (to be completed by the accounting department at the university).
    • Note: Teams may receive a pre-filled W-9 form from their institution's accounting department. This form is equivalent to our “Vendor/W-9 Form," and is considered an acceptable substitution.

*MMIP Letter of University Support and Vendor W9 Forms can also be downloaded from the Resources page under “Project Plan.”

Technical Report Summary

Deadline: August 16, 2020

TECHNICAL REPORT SUMMARY GUIDELINES

Although the on-site 2020 Moon to Mars Ice and Prospecting Challenge Forum has been cancelled, NASA will ensure that the technical work completed by teach team will not go unnoticed. Teams are still asked to provide a summary technical paper by the deadline of Sunday, August 16th, with the flexibility to disregard any sections below that are not applicable to your team’s progress, given your unique constraints.

  • Papers should be single spaced
  • Papers will consist of the following sections:
    • Cover Page
    • Executive Summary
    • Body of Report
    • Appendices
  • Body of Report is limited 15 pages maximum
    • Cover page, Executive Summary, References, and Appendices are excluded as a part of your 15-page total limit. They do not count toward the maximum page limitations.
    • The appendices are not included in the page limitation. Appendices should be for references only.
  • Please use fonts common to Macintosh and PC platforms, i.e., Times, Times New Roman, Helvetica, or Arial for text; Symbol for mathematical symbols and Greek letters.
  • Font size should be either 11 or 12pt.

COVER PAGE SHOULD INCLUDE:

  • University name
  • Title/name of prototype
  • Photo of the prototype water extraction and prospecting system
  • Group photo of team members. Individual photos are encouraged if a group photo is not possible.
  • Full names of all team members
  • Major course of study for each student
  • Academic level of each student (undergraduate or graduate)
  • Faculty/industry advisor’s full name(s)
  • Graphic/Image of proposed system

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY SHOULD INCLUDE:

  • Brief description of the method to:
    • drill through the layers
    • prospect for a digital core
    • extract water
    • filter water
  • Method of hardware control (avionics/software)

BODY OF THE REPORT (15 PAGES MAX) SHOULD INCLUDE (WHERE APPLICABLE):

    • System Description
      • For the following, please provide visual (i.e., photos/drawings) and written descriptions, where appropriate, as well as explanations behind your design decisions.
        • Mounting system: (attachment to the mounting platform)
        • System excavation operations
        • Water extraction system/technique
        • System/technique/methodology utilized for prospecting for a digital core
        • Filtration and water collection
        • Solution to mine through the overburden layers
        • Process for managing temperature changes to prevent drill from freezing in the ice
        • Control and communication system
        • Datalogger (including its ability to monitor and record WOB load limits and electrical current usage in real time)
      • Technical Specifications: overall mass, overall volume, length of drill bit, weight-on-bit/drill force, rated load, max drilling speed, torque, on board computer system, communications interface, software, power, system telemetry
    • Design Changes/Improvements: include justification for any design changes made since the mid-project review
    • Challenges: describe any challenges you faced and how you mitigated them (including challenges related to COVID-19)
    • Overall Strategy Planned for the Competition:  how would your system have accurately prospected for the digital core and maximized the water acquired?
    • Summary of Integration and Test plan: Include any testing results obtained (simulated or otherwise)
      • Applicable only for teams that are able to conduct a fully integrated dry run of all their systems working together at least one time: include a paragraph or two about the integration of all systems working together in the technical paper summary, as well as an accompanying video demonstration of the integration at the time of Technical Paper submission (as a YouTube link, please).
    • Tactical Plan for Contingencies/Redundancies: What potential risks did you anticipate may exist during your operation, and what were your plans to mitigate those risks
    • Project Timeline
    • Safety Plan: (including hazards of operating system and planned mitigations, such as Personal Protective Equipment, if needed)
      • List all chemicals or hazardous materials being used
    • Paths-to-flight: This is one of the most important aspects of the technical paper, and teams are expected to devote at least 4 pages to this section. Provide a clear and detailed discussion of your prototype concept’s anticipated paths-to-flight (how the design could be applied to actual mission to the Moon and Mars) – and how you came up with the concept.  The paths-to flight description should be broken into two distinct sections:
      • 3 pages should be devoted to water extraction on Mars: teams will discuss the significant differences between Mars and Earth operation environments and describe essential modifications that would be required for extracting water from subsurface ice on Mars.
      • 1 page should be devoted to Lunar prospecting: teams will discuss the significant differences between the Moon and Earth operational environments and describe essential modifications that would be required for prospecting for a digital core on the Moon.
    • Budget: Include a full budget for all expenses to this point, including designing, building, and testing
      • Recognize all sponsors and/or grants received
        • Report the total amount of funding received outside of the Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge Development Award.
        • Include estimated dollar value for any parts received in-kind

    SUBMITTING THE TECHNICAL PAPER SUMMARY AND OPTIONAL SUPPLEMENTARY VIDEOS

    Please click the button below to complete the online submission form to upload your team’s Technical Paper Summary (.pdf file) and optional supplementary video files (Youtube links only that have been made publicly viewable).

    No revisions can be accepted after the submission deadline, so please proof your files very carefully before submitting them. If there are any technical problems with the content of your files (for example, your file was corrupted), we will try to contact you immediately, so it is very important that you provide us with up-to-date contact information on the submission form.

    Late submissions will not be accepted, and the submission form will close promptly at midnight.


Deliverables for Finalist Teams

Mid-Project Review

Deadline: March 15, 2021

MID-PROJECT REVIEW SUBMISSION GUIDELINES


Prior to receiving the second stipend installment, each Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge team must successfully pass a mid-project status review that demonstrates where they are in the development process. The purpose of the review is to provide the Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge Judges with evidence that the team is on-target to compete at the Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge competition in Hampton, VA with a fully functioning water extraction and prospecting system that can complete the tasks outlined in the design constraints and requirements. Teams must pass this review to receive the remainder of their stipend. Failure to pass this review may lead to delays in receiving the stipend, or withdrawal of invitation to the competition.

The Mid-Project Review is a Pass/Fail review and will initially consist of two submissions demonstrating prototype functionality:

  • A 3-5 page written report
    • The written report should provide a narrative of where you are in the development process, and whether you feel confident that you will have a functioning water extraction and prospecting system at the Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge Forum. It should outline:
      • Progress in developing each of the following systems:
        • mounting (for attachment to the mounting platform)
        • control (e.g. laptop computer, sensors on the drilling system)
        • operation of the system excavating through overburden layers and ice
      • Any challenges that have been encountered, and how the team is overcoming them (include how the team plans to address any anticipated challenges)
      • Any significant design changes resulting from further development and testing
      • Detailed integration and operational test plan
      • Tactical plan for contingencies and redundancies
      • Safety Plan (including hazards of operating system and planned mitigations, such as Personal Protective Equipment, if needed)
      • List all chemicals or hazardous materials being used
      • Updated schedule/timeline of tasks and deliverables
  • Submission of a video
    • Mounting system (for attachment to the mounting platform)
    • Control interface (e.g. laptop computer, sensors on the drilling system)
    • Operation of the system excavating through various layers of overburden and ice
    • Videos should be uploaded in MP4 format.
    • Videos are limited to a maximum of 4 minutes in length
    • File size is limited to 100 MB

Note: The video is not expected to be a “finished” product, nor to be lengthy. It simply needs to demonstrate the systems identified above.

The judges will review each team’s video and written report to evaluate the team’s progress towards competition readiness. If there are any concerns regarding a team’s prototype or scheduled timeline, that team may be asked to conduct a follow-up “face-to-face” meeting with the judges via Skype or a webinar. At that point, the judges may request that improvements be made prior to moving the team to the next phase of the competition.

Submitting the Mid-Project Review:

Please click the button below to complete the online Submission Form to upload your team's Mid-Project Review Paper (.pdf file) and video file (YouTube link).

No revisions can be accepted after the submission deadline, so please proof your files very carefully before submitting it. If there are any technical problems with the content of your paper or video file (for example, a file was corrupted), we will try to contact you immediately, so it is very important that you provide us with up-to-date contact information on the submission form.

Late submissions will not be accepted, and the submission form will close promptly at midnight.

Technical Paper &
Integration Video

Deadline: May 18, 2021

TECHNICAL PAPER GUIDELINES


  • Papers should be single spaced
  • Paper will consist of the following sections:
    • Cover Page
    • Executive Summary
    • Body of Report
    • Appendices
  • Body of Report is limited to 10 pages minimum; 15 pages maximum (submission of a Technical Paper that exceeds this page limit will be considered non-compliant).
    • Cover page, Executive Summary, References and Appendices are excluded as a part of your 15-page total limit. They do not count toward the minimum or the maximum page limitations.
    • The appendices are not included in the page limitation; however, it is important to note that the Steering Committee is not obligated to consider lengthy appendices in the evaluation process. Appendices should be for references only.
  • Please use fonts common to Macintosh and PC platforms, i.e., Times, Times New Roman, Helvetica, or Arial for text; Symbol for mathematical symbols and Greek letters.
  • Font size should be either 11 or 12 pt.

Cover Page Must Include:

  • University name
  • Title/name of prototype
  • Photo of the prototype water extraction and prospecting system
  • Group photo of team members
  • Full names of all team members and their respective major course of study and academic level (undergraduate or graduate)
  • Graphic/Image of proposed system
  • Faculty/industry advisor’s full name (s)

Executive Summary Must Include:

  • Brief description of the method to:
    • drill through the layers
    • prospect for a digital core
    • extract water
    • filter water
  • Method of hardware control (avionics/software)

Body of the Report (10-15 pages max) Must Include:

  • System Description
    • For the following, please provide visual (i.e., photos/drawings) and written descriptions, where appropriate, as well as explanations behind your design decisions.
      • Mounting system: (attachment to the mounting platform)
      • Solution to mine through the overburden layers
      • System/technique/methodology utilized for prospecting for a digital core
      • Water extraction system/technique
      • Filtration and water collection
      • Process for managing temperature changes to prevent drill from freezing in the ice
      • Control and communication system
      • Datalogger (including its ability to monitor and record WOB load limits and electrical current usage in real time)
    • Technical Specifications: Overall mass, overall volume, length of drill bit, weight-on-bit/drill force, rated load, max drilling speed, torque, on board computer system, communications interface, software, power, system telemetry
  • Design Changes/Improvements: Include justification for any design changes made since the mid-project review
  • Challenges: Describe any challenges you faced and how you mitigated them
  • Overall Strategy for the Competition: How does your system accurately prospect for the digital core and maximize the water acquired
  • Summary of Integration and Test Plan: Include testing results (simulated or otherwise)
    • Teams are required to conduct a fully integrated dry run of all their systems working together at least one time prior to arriving at NASA. This includes a paragraph or two about the integration in the Technical Paper, as well as an accompanying video demonstration of the integration at the time of Technical Paper submission (as a YouTube link, please).
  • Tactical Plan for Contingencies/Redundancies: What potential risks exist during your operation, and what are your plans to mitigate those risks
  • Safety Plan: Including hazards of operating system and planned mitigations, such as Personal Protective Equipment, if needed.
    • List all chemicals or hazardous materials being used
  • Paths-to-flight: This is one of the most important aspects of the technical paper, and teams are expected to devote at least 4 pages to this section. Provide a clear and detailed discussion of your prototype concept’s anticipated paths-to-flight (how the design could be applied to actual mission to the Moon and Mars) – and how you came up with the concept. The paths-to flight description should be broken into two distinct sections:
    • 3 pages should be devoted to water extraction on Mars: teams will discuss the significant differences between Mars and Earth operation environments and describe essential modifications that would be required for extracting water from subsurface ice on Mars.
    • 1 page should be devoted to Lunar prospecting: teams will discuss the significant differences between the Moon and Earth operational environments and describe essential modifications that would be required for prospecting for a digital core on the Moon.
  • Project Timeline
  • Budget: Include a full budget for designing, building, testing, and transporting your water extraction system.
    • Recognize all sponsors and/or grants. Report the total amount of funding received outside of the $10,000 Development Award, and include estimated dollar value for any parts received in-kind.
  • Appendices:

    Appendices should be for references only.

    Technical Paper Scoring Criteria:

    The Technical Paper is worth 30% of the team's final score. A maximum of 135 points will be awarded based on the quality of the Technical Paper.

    • Key elements that the Technical Paper will be evaluated on are:
      • Quality of Path-to-Flight description (Max 45 points); including rationale behind various trades and critical modifications made to the system for:
        • Extracting water from sub-surface ice on Mars
        • Prospecting on the Moon
      • Technical quality, feasibility, innovation of design for use off-Earth (Max 35 points)
      • Quality of integration video and summary description (Max 30 points)
      • Quality of summary of production and testing approach (Max 15 points)
      • Adherence to Technical Paper guidelines (Max 10 points)

    Submitting the Technical Paper and Integration Video

    Please click the button below to complete the online Technical Paper Submission Form to upload your team's Technical Paper (.pdf file) and Integration Video (YouTube link).

    No revisions can be accepted after the submission deadline, so please proof your files very carefully before submitting them. If there are any technical problems with the content of your files (for example, your file was corrupted), we will try to contact you immediately, so it is very important that you provide us with up-to-date contact information on the submission form.

    Late submissions will not be accepted, and the submission form will close promptly at midnight.

Poster

Deadline: May 30, 2021

POSTER GUIDELINES


Each team is required to present a paper poster describing their paths-to-flight and operational strategy for water extraction and prospecting for a digital core. Posters should be 48” x 36.” Each team will be given an easel for poster display. One tri-fold foam/cardboard poster board will also be made available for each team to use, as well as thumbtacks/tape to secure posters to the tri-fold boards.

The Poster Session provides teams with an opportunity to informally interact with the judges and answer any questions the judges have about the prototype water extraction system. Posters should be a summary of your Technical Paper, with the emphasis of discussion being on the paths-to-flight. All members are expected to participate and engage with the judges during the Poster Session.

Digital Poster File Guidelines:

Each team is also required to submit the digital file of their poster. Digital posters will be displayed on the Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge Website, and as such, will need to follow some standard guidelines:

  • Digital poster files must match the printed poster
  • Posters must be 48” x 36” (9600 pixels x 7200 pixels) and horizontal
  • Poster file size limit is 100MB
  • Poster file should be submitted as a PDF file
  • Images and graphs should be clear, legible, and appropriately sized for the poster
    • Images and graphs embedded within the poster should be “print-ready,” with a minimum DPI of 150 whenever possible
  • Links or redirects in the body of their poster are not permitted
    • This includes redirecting to a webpage, video, or any other content.
    • All content should be included in the text or directly embedded within the PDF
    • If the poster has a References section, links may be included in that section only.
      • Include a text link (Ex: http://rascal.nianet.org) vs hyperlinking text.

Poster Session Scoring:

The poster session is worth 10% of the team's overall final score. A maximum of 45 points will be awarded based on the quality of the Poster Presentation.

  • Key elements that the Poster Presentation will be evaluated on are:
    • Discussion of the Earth-based system and how you got from here to the off-Earth system) (Max 25 points)
      • Posters should be a summary of your Technical Paper, with the emphasis of discussion being on how your Earth-based system would be modified for use off-Earth in the following manner:
        • Extracting water from sub-surface ice on Mars
        • Prospecting on the Moon
    • Technical content, style, and coherence of poster (Max 10 points)
    • Engagement with judges (all team members should participate) and quality of answers to questions (Max 10 points)

Dates & Deadlines

All deadlines must be met by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the dates specified below. Late deliverables will not be accepted.

DateDescription
October 1, 2020NOI deadline for university teams
October 8, 2020Deadline to submit questions for Q&A session
To submit a question, click here.
October 15, 2020Q&A Session for teams with Steering Committee
November 24, 2020Project Plan submission deadline
December 14, 2020Teams are notified of their selection status
Late December, 20201st installment of development stipend sent to universities
March 15, 2021Mid-Point Review deadline
April 2, 2021Teams are notified of MPR pass/fail status and stipends are sent to universities (as appropriate)
May 2, 2021Deadline for Hotel Reservations; Online registration and payment deadline for Forum
May 18, 2021Technical Paper and Integration Video submission deadline
June 2 - 4, 2021Onsite Competition at NASA's Langley Research Center