NASA in association with the American Society of Mechanical Foundation organised 3-D Space Container Challenge which asked young minds to make an innovative container that will make life of astronauts easier while they are in space. NASA has received number of innovative and revolutionary designs which will be used in upcoming Mars exploration project scheduled for 2017 and 2020.
Two Indo-American teenagers Rajan Vivek from Arizona and Prasanna Krishnamoorthy from Delaware failed to win the prestigious challenge after raising the hope of countrymen when secured position in top ten finalists.
Mr. Rajan designed a Hydroponic Plant Box container in which plants can grow without soil and water. Thus, tackling the problem of restricting water in microgravity environment. It will help astronauts in growing plants in spacecrafts as the design consumes less space while it grows plant at a faster rate.
On the other hand, Mr. Prasanna thought of using the limited space in aircraft effectively so he designed a Collapsible Container which can expand and contract according to the size of the contents. The container perfectly fits the size of its content and in the absence of any content it gets compressed fully, enabling easy storage.
Although their designs were good but Ryan Beam of California won the competition for designing a ClipCatch. Mr Beam’s ClipCatch solves the problem of astronauts in clipping their fingernails as it might float in the microgravity environment and can become potentially harmful debris. Mr. Beam’s design will allow astronauts to clip their fingernails without any worry.
“The simplest tasks on Earth can be quite challenging, and even dangerous, in space,” said Niki Werkheiser, NASA’s In-Space Manufacturing project manager. “Being able to 3-D print technical parts, as well as the lifestyle items that we use every day will not only help enable deep space travel but can make the trip more pleasant for astronauts,” he said.
NASA decided the winner on the basis of design that will make astronaut’s life in space easier.