Washington, September 24: Recently NASA observed the presence of ‘aerosols’ in the air we breathe in. Aerosols, these tiny airborne particles, known as aerosols, can contribute to a variety of health problems, such as asthma and respiratory tract irritation. To tackle this in the creative way NASA has announced a USD 100,000 grand prize for designing a low-cost and lightweight aerosol sensor that can monitor air quality on Earth as well as in space environments.
Aerosol sensors are must to monitor the air quality in order to ensure the health of humans living on Earth as well as those travelling in spacecraft to explore the solar system.
NASA is working with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to sponsor the Earth and Space Air Prize competition for a solution that could improve air quality and health in space and on Earth. The challenge is to promote the development of robust, durable, inexpensive, efficient, lightweight, and easy-to-use aerosol sensors for space and Earth environments.
“Particulate monitoring is a gap in NASA’s technology roadmap to enable future long-term missions. Current aerosol instrument technology is too large,” said Paul Mudgett, from NASA’s Biomedical Research and Environment Sciences Division. “It does not offer the necessary level of sensitivity or longevity, along with the ability to operate in reduced- gravity. Using this collaboration with RWJF, we have an incredible opportunity to close this gap,” Mudgett said. The Earth and Space Air Prize is a two-phase competition. Registration for Phase 1 is open until December 13 this year and requires submission of a sensor design by January 31, 2018.