WASHINGTON, April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Registration is open for teams seeking to compete in the $1.5 million energy storage competition known as the Night Rover Challenge, sponsored by NASA and the Cleantech Open of Palo Alto, Calif.
To win, a team must demonstrate a stored energy system that can power a simulated solar-powered exploration vehicle that can operate through multiple cycles of daylight and extended periods of darkness.
"The goal of the Night Rover Challenge is to stimulate innovations in energy storage technologies of value in extreme space environments, such as the surface of the moon, or for electric vehicles and renewable energy systems here on Earth," said Michael Gazarik, NASA's associate administrator for Space Technology at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "NASA wants this challenge to generate new ideas that will allow planetary rovers the ability to take on a night shift, and possibly create new energy storage technologies for applications of benefit here on our home planet."This is a Centennial Challenge in which NASA provides the prize purse for technological achievements by independent teams while the Cleantech Open manages the competition as NASA's allied organization. The challenge is extended to individuals, groups and companies working outside the traditional aerospace industry. Unlike most contracts or grants, awards will be made only after solutions are demonstrated successfully. During the Night Rover Challenge energy storage systems will receive electrical energy from a simulated solar collector during daylight hours. During darkness, the stored energy will be used for simulated thermal management, scientific experimentation, communications and rover movement. A winning system must exceed the performance of an existing state-of-the-art system by a pre-determined margin. The winning system will be the one that has the highest energy storage density.