NASA Prize Trend?

The "Latest News" section of the NASA Centennial Challenges site has the following news:

The IPP Office is seeking new prize concept ideas from NASA and contractor employees. See instructions to submit ideas. (This Internal Call for Proposals is intended for NASA and NASA Contractor employees only.) A web survey opportunity for the general public to submit ideas is also coming soon.
› View NASA Internal Call for Prize Concept Proposals
› View NASA Call for Proposals Form

The internal call for prize concept proposals has more details on the Centennial Challenge plans:

NASA does have an important role in oversight and in formulating the challenge, reviewing rules for technical relevance and seeking opportunities with competitors for technology infusion and partnerships. We intend to enhance this NASA role in future challenges. ... One goal of this call is to identify creative and compelling prize competitions that truly address the future needs of NASA projects and programs. A second goal is to identify NASA organizations that would consider supporting such competitions in their technical formulation and in the active pursuit of opportunities for technology infusion and creation of new partnerships. ... Our intention is to pursue candidate prize competition for which there is a commitment of support from one or more NASA organizations. ... The IPP Office intends to also collect ideas for prize challenges from the general public through a web-based survey that will be located at ... This strategic planning process is already ongoing ...

The document also identifies a number of prize subject areas of special interest to Centennial Challenges.

SEND US YOUR IDEAS! - Ideas for New NASA Prize Challenges - This looks like the future location for the public prize input.

Meanwhile, reports on the following NASA Solicitation Notice: NASA JSC Solicitation Notice: Open Innovation Support Services. It looks like NASA is looking for the types of open innovation, crowdsourcing, and innovation prize management services that might be discussed at a conference like incentive2innovate. From the Notice:

NASA JSC is looking for an offeror that supports a network of experts that can facilitate solutions to a vast array of issues and challenges facing the future of human health and performance in spaceflight. Challenges are of varied type and difficulty and could include technological, biological, or human modeling needs. The potential offeror will provide NASA JSC with the methodology and infrastructure to facilitate Open Innovation within the organization and for solutions to outsourced challenges or problems. ... NASA JSC is seeking to establish initial success criteria with pilot participation of up to 6 challenges/problem statements. ... Examples of the types of challenges/problem statements considered by NASA JSC are: real time acoustic monitoring, medication and medical consumable tracking system, 02 concentrator, computer based technology that supports consistency checking for design of automated systems in the design phase, extended-life cheese product, and food packaging systems that reduce oxygen content in final package to less than 1%.

Finally, NASA recently announced the Lunabotics Mining Competition, a university student competition with a theme that is similar to that of the Regolith Excavation Challenge, one of NASA's Centennial Challenges. In fact, the Lunabotics rules haven't been posted yet, so they refer to the Regolith Excavation Challenge rules for a general idea of what to expect in the meantime. SpaceRef reports on a press release on this competition: Registration Open for NASA Lunabotics Mining Competition. From the Lunabotics page:

The purpose of the Lunabotics Mining Competition is to engage and retain students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, in a competitive environment that may result in innovative ideas and solutions, which could be applied to actual lunar excavation for NASA.

Lunabotics includes numerous prizes in various categories, such as the hardware competition, papers, team spirit, outreach, and cumulative score. There are various prizes, include cash, VIP launch tickets, and participating in NASA Desert RATS (NASA field work preparing for human-robotic exploration).

NASA also provides a web page for an entire Lunar Regolith Excavator Senior Design Course.

Also note:

A university faculty advisor or student team may propose up to $5,000 to support a student team to design and build a lunar regolith excavator and for travel expenses to compete in the Lunabotics Mining Competition at Kennedy Space Center in Florida the week of May 25-28, 2010.
Are these NASA moves towards innovation prizes and open innovation just isolated steps, or do they signal a general and sustained trend towards making these tools a natural part of the way NASA does business?

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