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Friday, May 20, 2005
  I don't mind spending on stuff like this.
New Scientist Breaking News - Draw oxygen from moon dirt, challenges NASA: "NASA is giving inventors a chance to create a device to squeeze out oxygen from simulated moon dirt. And there is a cash prize for the first team to achieve the feat.

NASA launched the Centennial Challenges as an answer to the Ansari X-Prize, the $10 million space prize for the first private reusable vehicle to fly into space twice, which was won in October 2004. NASA’s first challenges were issued in March 2005 to build strong space tethers for future space elevators, and a payload-carrying wirelessly-powered robot that could climb a space cable. About 30 teams have expressed an interest in competing.

On Thursday, the space agency and the Florida Space Research Institute took the challenge to the Moon. The team which wins the Moon Regolith Oxygen challenge (MoonROx) will get $250,000 for being the first to pull out at least 5 kilograms of breathable oxygen from volcanic ash simulating lunar dirt. Their device cannot weigh more than 25 kilograms and the challenge ends on 1 June 2008.

'The use of resources on other worlds is a key element of the Vision for Space Exploration,' says Craig Steidle, NASA's associate administrator for the exploration systems mission directorate. 'This challenge will reach out to inventors who can help us achieve the vision sooner,' he adds."
 
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