Have stellar design skills and dream of a future on Mars? NASA wants to hear from you.
The agency is seeking proposals for the lodgings that will house astronauts on Mars from eligible U.S. businesses, universities and nonprofits. The callout comes from NextSTEP, a NASA initiative that aims to unite the public and private sectors in the development of innovations and technology for exploring deep space.
NASA is laying the groundwork for journeying to Mars in various ways. Studying how the International Space Station's first-ever One Year Crew fared up there will help determine how the human body and mind will react to an extended stay on the Red Planet. The agency’s first launch of the Orion, the spacecraft designed to transport those intrepid astronauts there, is scheduled for 2018.
“NASA is increasingly embracing public-private partnerships to expand capabilities, and opportunities in space. Our NextSTEP partners commit their own corporate resources toward the development -- making them a true partner in the spaceflight economy," said Jason Crusan, director of NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Division, in a statement.
If you're interested and have any questions, tune in to an industry forum on April 25 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. NASA says that "notices of intent are appreciated" by May 13 at 5 p.m. ET, and the proposals are due on June 15 at 5 p.m. ET.