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Challenge NASA Challenge: Simple Microgravity Laundry System
NASA Challenge: Simple Microgravity Laundry System
STATUS: Awarded
Active Solvers: 598
Posted: May 27 2010
Challenge ID: 9454098
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NASA Challenge: Long-Distance space travel will require astronauts to be able to launder clothing in space. There are currently few or no efficient means of washing clothing within the micro-gravity of space since terrestrial cleaning processes cannot be directly applied. This Challenge asks Solvers to conceive of new methods of cleaning clothing such that it can be performed either on the International Space Station or aboard a vehicle that travels beyond low-earth orbit. More details can be found inside this Challenge.

The Simple Microgravity Laundry Challenge seeks concepts for a minimal system that provides laundry freshening and some amount of cleaning capability. The laundry system would enable clothing to be reused several times but not necessarily indefinitely as with conventional terrestrial laundry systems. It is the intent that this limited cleaning capability will significantly decrease laundry complexity and the impact on spacecraft resources, including water, consumables, and power. The mass of the laundry system equipment plus the required spacecraft resource mass to clean the clothing must be significantly less than the reduction in clothing mass that results from the ability to reuse clothing.

This Challenge Seeks a new approach to cleaning fabrics of all sorts (towels, clothing, socks, under garments, etc) in space. Though the design of an entire flight ready laundry machine for space is beyond the scope of this Challenge. The objective is to design key subassemblies of a new system that would be effective within the unique constraints of a space vehicle operating in micro-gravity. Additional detail and pictures can be found within the Challenge.

This is a Theoretical Challenge, which requires a written proposal with diagrams and calculations only. The Solver will propose a laundry system that meets the requirements and justify it with a detailed description and relevant references.
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An InnoCentive Theoretical Challenge builds upon an idea but is not yet a proof of concept. A solution to a Theoretical Challenge will solidify the Solver's concept with detailed descriptions, specifications and requirements necessary to bringing a good idea closer to becoming an actual product or service.

This Challenge is a Theoretical-IP Transfer Challenge, meaning that Solvers must relinquish all rights to the Intellectual Property (IP) for which they are awarded. By contrast, Theoretical-Licensing means that the Seeker is requesting non-exclusive rights to use the winning solution. For these forms of a Theoretical Challenge, Solvers that do not win retain the rights to their solution after the evaluation period is complete. The Seeker retains no rights to any IP not awarded.

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