Status Report

New NASA Centennial Challenges Announcement Watts on the Moon Challenge

By SpaceRef Editor
September 26, 2020
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New NASA Centennial Challenges Announcement Watts on the Moon Challenge

In accordance with the NASA Prize Authority, the NASA Centennial Challenges program has released Phase 1 of the Watts on the Moon Challenge.  Interested teams that wish to compete may now register on the official Challenge site at  


NASA Centennial Challenges is a program of prize competitions to stimulate innovation in technologies of interest and value to NASA and the nation.  NASA is providing the prize purse, and NASA Centennial Challenges will be managing the Challenge with support from HeroX.


In this Challenge, Teams will propose solutions for energy distribution, management, and/or storage that address NASA technology gaps and can progress toward flight readiness and future operation on the lunar surface. Such solutions may also have important synergies with terrestrial energy needs, and this Challenge is expected to help advance similar technologies for terrestrial application and commercialization. The Watts on the Moon Challenge will offer Teams up to $5 million in prize purses as well as potential opportunities to test their proposed solutions at NASA facilities. The Challenge will have two phases, the initiation of Phase 2 is contingent on the emergence of promising submissions in Phase 1 that demonstrate a viable approach to achieving the Challenge goals.  For Phase 1, the Challenge presents a Mission Scenario with three Mission Activities. Teams will choose one or more activities to address by proposing an energy distribution, management, and/or storage solution. Teams are eligible for a prize purse for each Mission Activity that they address. For example, in Phase 1, a Team that addresses three Mission Activities will be eligible for three prize purses.  The total prize purse for Phase 1 is 500,000.


Official documentation related to this Challenge can be found at




NASA welcomes applications from individuals, teams, and organization or entities that have a recognized legal existence and structure under applicable law (State, Federal, or Country) and that are in good standing in the jurisdiction under which they are organized with the following restrictions:


  • Individuals must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States and must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Organizations must be an entity incorporated in and maintaining a primary place of business in the United States.  
  • Teams must be comprised of otherwise eligible individuals or organizations and led by an otherwise eligible individual or organization.


U.S. government employees may enter the competition, or be members of prize-eligible teams, so long as they are not acting within the scope of their Federal employment, and they rely on no facilities, access, personnel, knowledge, or other resources that are available to them as a result of their employment, except for those resources available to all other participants on an equal basis.


U.S. government employees participating as individuals, or who submit applications on behalf of an otherwise eligible organization, will be responsible for ensuring that their participation in the Challenge is permitted by the rules and regulations relevant to their position and that they have obtained any authorization that may be required by virtue of their government position. Failure to do so may result in the disqualification of them individually or of the entity which they represent or in which they are involved.


Foreign citizens may only participate through an eligible U.S. entity as:

  • An employee of such entity;
  • A full-time student of such entity, if the entity is a university or other accredited institution of higher learning;
  • An owner of such entity, so long as foreign citizens own less than 50% of the interests in the entity; OR
  • A contractor under written contract to such entity.


Each individual, whether acting alone or as part of a Team, must identify their nationality. No Team Member shall be a citizen of a country on the NASA Export Control Program List Category II: Countries determined by Department of State to support terrorism. (The current list of designated countries can be found at This includes individuals with dual citizenship unless they are a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent U.S. resident (green card holder). Further, pursuant to Public Law 112-55, NASA is prohibited from participating, collaborating, or coordinating bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese-owned company. Thus, NASA will review submissions to ensure no Team or entity falls under this prohibition. 


A team-designated team lead shall be responsible for the actions of and compliance with the rules, including prize eligibility rules, by all members of his or her team. The final deadline for submitting the Registration is 05:00 PM Eastern Time on March 25, 2021. Interested teams should submit their registration by 5:00pm Eastern Time on March 25, 2021.  No further requests for review will be accepted after this date. 


This email is being sent on behalf of the Centennial Challenges program and is intended as an informational announcement to the science and research communities. Thank you for your continued interest in NASA. Please refer to the https;// for contact information. 



SpaceRef staff editor.