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The rocky road to Venus: NASA joins forces with HeroX to crowdsource obstacle-avoidance sensors; announces reward of $30,000

The temperature on Venus is upwards of 425 degree Celsius.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Feb 19, 2020, 05.33 PM IST
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The competition includes prize money, but the high cost of development means that participation will be a matter of pride for innovators.
The competition includes prize money, but the high cost of development means that participation will be a matter of pride for innovators.
Flying close to the Sun can be a health hazard, even for probes built by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The second-closest planet to the Sun, Venus, is equally hostile to foreign objects, but that hasn’t prevented scientists from devising rovers that are capable of navigating the rough terrain of the planet’s surface whilst braving the high temperature.

NASA has joined hands with HeroX, a crowdsourcing competition for enterprise and innovators, to launch an online competition to develop obstacle-avoidance sensors capable of doing the job on NASA’s Venus-bound AREE explorer.

The top three entries will be given cash awards totalling USD 30,000. All entries will undergo testing at NASA’s laboratory to gauge test-worthiness. The sensors will have to navigate Venus’ rough surface whilst withstanding inclement conditions like high temperature and pressure.

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Russia’s Venera lander was incapacitated within two hours of landing on the surface of Venus.
Russia’s Venera lander was incapacitated within two hours of landing on the surface of Venus.

The temperature on Venus is upwards of 425 degree Celsius, and the pressure at the planet’s surface is roughly 92 times that on Earth. The competition is not restricted to American citizens. Individuals with innovative ideas can send in their submissions by May 29, provided they are above 18 years of age.

The entries will go through a stringent review process between June 1 and July 2, with the winners being announced July 6. The committee wants prospective applicants to borrow design cues from the current AREE rover. They will be free to improvise on the exterior design, whilst adhering to the specifications mentioned.

The competition includes prize money, but the high cost of development means that participation will be a matter of pride for innovators. Participants will have to face the daunting task of developing a sensor within three months, something that even state-sponsored projects have had little success at.

Russia’s Venera lander was incapacitated within two hours of landing on the surface of Venus.

Out Of This World: The Many Ways You Can Explore Outer Space Without Being An Astronaut

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Race To Outer Space

21 Jan, 2020
When Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa announced earlier this week that he wanted a companion to accompany him on a voyage to the Moon, it marked just the latest instance that an ordinary citizen could conceivably fly to outer space.There have been a few private citizens before him who have expressed a desire to indulge in a spot of space tourism, while a few enterprising organisations also offer the same deal to people willing to pay top dollar. Here are all the ways one can go into outer space without actually being an astronaut.
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