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Moon to Mars eXploration Systems and Habitation (M2M X-Hab) 2021 Academic Innovation Challenge


Proposal Due Date Extended: The proposal due date for the program has been extended one week to May 1, 2020 to allow teams more time to prepare their proposals while they are working remotely.

Special Note to Potential Proposers: Given the current situation this spring, the program has been extremely flexible in terms of program results and deliverables, while continuing to facilitate both valuable experiences for the students and concrete results for the sponsors. It is anticipated that the program will continue to remain flexible in the event of unforeseen circumstances during the upcoming program year.

Description: The Moon to Mars eXploration Systems and Habitation (M2M X-Hab) 2021 Academic Innovation Challenge is a university-level challenge designed to develop strategic partnerships and collaborations with universities. It has been organized to help bridge strategic knowledge gaps and increase knowledge in capabilities and technology risk reduction related to NASA’s vision and missions. In 2016, the X-Hab Challenge scope was formally extended to include other areas of Exploration Systems as well as habitation topics. The competition is intended to link with senior- and graduate-level design curricula that emphasize hands-on design, research, development, and manufacturing of functional prototypical subsystems that enable functionality for space habitats and deep space exploration missions. NASA will directly benefit from the challenge by sponsoring the development of innovative concepts and technologies from universities, which will result in novel ideas and solutions that could be applied to exploration.

The Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Division will offer multiple awards of $15k - $50k each to design and produce studies or functional products of interest to the AES Division (see Section 3.2, Moon to Mars (M2M) X-Hab Proposal Topic List) as proposed by university teams according to their interests and expertise. The prototypes produced by the university teams (examples of which are shown in Figure 1) may be integrated into existing NASA-built operational prototypes. Universities interested in participating will submit M2M X-Hab proposals, which will be reviewed by technical experts; subsequent down-selection will determine which projects will be funded. M2M X-Hab university teams will be required to complete their products for evaluation by the AES Division in May 2021. Universities may form collaborations to perform as a single distributed project team.

Students in the Critical Path: The M2M X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge has a unique approach to student involvement, in that the student team is placed in the NASA mission critical path for the product or technology that they develop alongside NASA researchers. Teams are required to go through a series of NASA-standard assessments as other NASA engineering products, including a System Definition Review (SDR), a Preliminary Design Review (PDR), and a Critical Design Review (CDR). With this approach, NASA is putting a great deal of responsibility on the students. This in turn gives the students a bigger stake in the development of space technologies that likely will form the basis for future systems and technologies that will be flown in space.

Eligibility: Proposals will be accepted from faculty who are U.S. citizens and currently teach an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)-accredited engineering senior or graduate design, industrial design, or architecture curriculum teaming course at a university affiliated with the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, or other US accredited university. Multidisciplinary, multidepartmental, and/or multi-institutional teaming collaborations are highly encouraged.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges, and other minority-serving educational institutions are particularly encouraged to apply. Proposals from women, members of underrepresented minorities groups, and persons with disabilities are highly encouraged.

Mark Fischer
National Space Grant Foundation
202-536-3089 (fax)

OSSI - NASA provides a single online application for multiple internship opportunities. Internships are offered throughout the year. The application will allow you to simultaneously apply for non-INSGC NASA scholarships and fellowships with one submitted application. Applications are only accepted at certain times of the year. Usually around October.

NASA Academies are held at each NASA Center. These Academies are not a traditional internship, but the Academies are intense learning experiences that are either Space- or Aeronautics-based. Academies are viewed as valuable as an internship so do not let the unusual name scare you away!

To Apply:  Click Below

Industry Internships (Various companies) There will be a variety of compensation rates and travel awards. Offered funding will depend on the industry partner and associated travel costs. There are multiple different companies as well as multiple different guidelines. If you are interested in learning more or applying then look directly below.

Internships at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology are awarded through a separate process.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a unique national research facility that carries out robotic space and Earth science missions. JPL helped open the Space Age by developing America's first Earth-orbiting science satellite, creating the first successful interplanetary spacecraft, and sending robotic missions to study all the planets in the solar system as well as asteroids, comets and Earth's moon. In addition to its missions, JPL developed and manages NASA's Deep Space Network, a worldwide system of antennas that communicates with interplanetary spacecraft.

JPL is a federally funded research and development center managed for NASA by Caltech. From the long history of leaders drawn from the university's faculty to joint programs and appointments, JPL's intellectual environment and identity are profoundly shaped by its role as part of Caltech.

Today JPL continues its world-leading innovation, implementing programs in planetary exploration, Earth science, space-based astronomy and technology development, while applying its capabilities to technical and scientific problems of national significance. JPL technology developed to enable new missions is also applied on Earth to benefit our everyday lives.

There is more information available about opportunities below:

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