NASA Awards $750,000 in Competition to Convert Carbon Dioxide into Sugar

Team Air Company prepares materials for judging. (Credits: NASA/Amanda Adams)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — On Earth, plants and ocean microbes use sunlight to turn carbon dioxide, or CO2, into sugars for energy. Humans don’t have that ability, at least not yet.

On Mars, there aren’t plants and oceans, but there is an abundance of CO2. NASA’s CO2 Conversion Challenge invited the public to come up with ways to convert this principle component of the Martian atmosphere into sugar, which astronauts could use to make useful products – anything from plastics, adhesives, and fuels to food and medicine.


NASA Awards $500,000 in Break the Ice Lunar Challenge

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — As NASA prepares to go to the Moon with the Artemis program, in-situ resource utilization is paramount, and there is no hotter commodity than water. To that effect, 13 teams from across the United States have won a share of a $500,000 prize in a competition that asked for ideas for digging and hauling icy Moon “dirt” – or regolith.

NASA’s Break the Ice Lunar Challenge opened in November 2020, incentivizing new approaches for excavating resources astronauts will need during long-duration missions on the Moon. Water, one of the most important resources, is trapped in icy regolith at the Moon’s poles, inside permanently dark and cold craters.