NASA Contest: Develop an Origami/Folding Concept for Radiation Shield Packing/Deploying

Contest Brief

This challenge is seeking packaged and deployed concepts for a radiation shield that would envelope the habitation portions of a Mars spacecraft. 

We are seeking novel folding/origami-based patterns and concepts for packaging a large radiation shield within a single launch vehicle that can be deployed around a Mars vehicle in cis-Lunar space. One of the major concerns to humans embarking on interplanetary space travel is the space radiation environment and the resulting damage to the human body. The radiation of most concern is the Galactic Cosmic Radiation (GCR) because it contains heavy elements, which are particularly damaging, and is very penetrating due to its high energy. This makes GCRs difficult to shield against with traditional spacecraft architectures having thicknesses in the typical range of 20-30 g/cm2. On Earth, we are partially protected by Earth’s magnetic field and mostly protected by the miles of atmosphere. So, we want to focus on what we know works in protecting humans from space radiation and figure out how to construct a large shield on an interplanetary space vehicle.

Previous research (see references in attachment) into radiation mitigating multifunctional materials has shown lithium hydrides to be particularly advantageous in shielding against GCRs. So, with this challenge, we are looking for novel ideas on how to package a large radiation shield made of a multifunctional lithium hydride material that could be deployed in space. We are really trying to tap into people that are passionate about NASA and space exploration and have a talent for creating innovative 3D designs that can be packaged within a minimum volume, but deployed such that they maximize the radiation protection around the human habitation portion of the spacecraft. 

This challenge seeks creative ideas that can be shown using diagrams, graphics, 3D models, or animations that at a minimum show the stowed and deployed configurations. Submissions should include the dimensions of the stowed and final configuration, paying particular attention to include the final thickness of the deployed shield. Submissions should also describe/diagram at a high level the transformation from stowed to deployed configuration to verify feasibility of deployment. Submissions must take into account the attached requirements.

This challenge will award at least one winner with an award of $500. However, multiple submissions may be selected for prize amounts between $100-$500 depending on the submission evaluation.

Submissions will be evaluated based on:
- Feasibility, including feasibility of deployment
- Novelty/Originality (something we would not have come up with on our own)
- Functionality (ability to stow in a minimum volume and deploy for maximum coverage)
- Simplicity or Reliability (more complexity usually means less reliability)

IMPORTANT: See the attached file(s) for a complete list of challenge requirements, constraints, and references.

Please note that NASA employees/contractors are not eligible for competing in this contest.

If you are interested in staying informed about other NASA challenge you can sign up for updates about NASA crowdsourcing and challenge at [url removed, login to view] or check out the NASA Solve Website at [url removed, login to view]

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Employer Feedback

“Albertus J. did an outstanding job developing a spacecraft radiation shielding design based on origami design methods . This was a contest and this design concept was selected as 1st place from 159 entries. Albertus J. provided a design that was very well thought through. It took an origami concept and adapted it to a thick material while taking into account a honeycomb material and how one would package that (most realistic from that perspective). It also had an additional benefits of being advantageous for Micro-Meteoroid & Orbital Debris (MMOD) shielding. Albertus J. was very responsive to our feedback and worked hard to provide a high quality product.”

Profile image nasacoeci, United States.

Top entries from this contest

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Public Clarification Board

  • ospau16
    ospau16
    • 1 month ago

    Ok muchas gracias NASA por todo. Espero poder presentar en un próximo concurso. Cualquier pregunta que les pueda interesar sobre mi presentación no duden en hacerlo. Muchas gracias. Oscar Simone. Córdoba
    Argentina

    • 1 month ago
  • laral4
    laral4
    • 1 month ago

    Quick question. Where are the PDF links for each entry? All I see is a tiny frame with HUGE images that have to be scrolled. I have to open each frame in a new tab and use a screenshot extension to save the whole frame. I'd like to see the original PDF submissions if possible.

    • 1 month ago
  • nasacoeci
    Contest Holder
    • 1 month ago

    Congratulations to our final "Honorable Mention" nathvolt!

    • 1 month ago
  • rcairo
    rcairo
    • 1 month ago

    First of all, I want to congratulate all the winners and thank NASA for allowing me to participate.

    On the other hand, I would like to ask you what you think is the real applicability of all the concepts presented?

    • 1 month ago
    1. nasacoeci
      Contest Holder
      • 1 month ago

      Galactic Cosmic Radiation is a serious technical issue that must be addressed if we plan to send humans out into deep space to explore planets like Mars. NASA is working on several ways to mitigate this risk and this challenge was to help us understand the full trade space of creative and innovative approaches to using a deployable radiation shield. These concepts will be added into the early trade spaces for evaluating this approach to reducing the risk. Hope that helps.

      • 1 month ago
  • nasacoeci
    Contest Holder
    • 1 month ago

    Congratulations to 2 "honorable mentions" jianhhe and Gordon C. Great work!!!!!

    • 1 month ago
  • liamfennessy
    liamfennessy
    • 1 month ago

    thanks NASA, the origami challenge was really fun.

    • 1 month ago
  • Tank0da
    Tank0da
    • 1 month ago

    Hello.  I am Travis Nolan.  I am 16 years old (15 when I sent in my submission - # 93 and # 149).  Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this contest.  Have all of the honorable mentions been awarded?

    Thank you

    • 1 month ago
    1. nasacoeci
      Contest Holder
      • 1 month ago

      We are currently waiting for responses from all of the honorable mentions before announcing. Thanks for your patience.

      • 1 month ago
    2. Tank0da
      Tank0da
      • 1 month ago

      I strove to meet all of the design requirements as outlined but had some time restrictions as I was away from home and resources when I submitted. I was wondering whether anything was unclear or if you could provide any feedback for my submission as I have not done anything like this before.
      Thank you in advance for any time and input that you can provide.

      • 1 month ago
  • albertusjanuardy
    albertusjanuardy
    • 1 month ago

    Thank you for choosing me as the 1st place, really glad i can participate in this contest and fulfill my craving to make concept for something related to space exploration

    really awesome work by the other too!

    • 1 month ago
  • nasacoeci
    Contest Holder
    • 1 month ago

    Also congratulate our 2nd place winner Lauren F. and our 3rd place winner Einffall.

    • 1 month ago
  • nasacoeci
    Contest Holder
    • 1 month ago

    Congratulations to Albertus J. who has been selected as our 1st place winner for this contest. We will be messaging 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place winners shortly! Thank you for all of your hard work. These were really some great submissions!

    • 1 month ago
    1. albertusjanuardy
      albertusjanuardy
      • 1 month ago

      Really appreciate that you chose me as 1st place :), ill complete the hand over ASAP

      • 1 month ago
  • albertusjanuardy
    albertusjanuardy
    • 2 months ago

    When will the final decision will be announced? Cant wait to browse through the other's idea :)

    • 2 months ago
    1. nasacoeci
      Contest Holder
      • 2 months ago

      We are currently evaluating the designs and hope to have a final decision in the next few days. Good luck!

      • 2 months ago
  • benjamindul
    benjamindul
    • 2 months ago

    I some how withdrew my entry 131 while trying to review the updated feedback on my mobile device. Is there anyway to undo that action? I just wanted to see your response to the questions I answered for you.

    • 2 months ago
    1. nasacoeci
      Contest Holder
      • 2 months ago

      You can ask Freelancer support if there are any options to undo your withdrawal. As the contest holder, we do not have any way to restore withdrawn submissions. Sorry.

      • 2 months ago
  • AlfyEspinosa
    AlfyEspinosa
    • 2 months ago

    Anyone interested in molecular development of ORIGAMI-based nanostructures or any ideas for a DBZ Capsule based en nanotechnology? 4 every thing... https://www.linkedin.com/in/alfredo-espinoza-11145061/

    • 2 months ago
  • justinthao
    justinthao
    • 2 months ago

    Fingers crossed!!!

    • 2 months ago
  • ospau16
    ospau16
    • 2 months ago

    Muchas gracias a Ustedes por la posibilidad de participar para este fin. Muy contento por haber quedado dentro de los proyectos de interes.

    • 2 months ago
  • nasacoeci
    Contest Holder
    • 2 months ago

    Thank you for everyone's amazing efforts on this challenge. We were very impressed with the innovative designs submitted and we are evaluating them now. Thank you for all of your hard work!

    • 2 months ago
  • laral4
    laral4
    • 2 months ago

    @gbr582f4c9319110

    The NASA announcement does say "Origami/Folding Concept", so that would include anything, though I can't imagine any design that would not technically be origami. The size requirement could not fit the launch vehicle if it were not somehow folded.

    I do not think that either NASA or this site's admins, who only get their information from NASA, have provided a simple-to-understand, explicit list of requirements. Even after reading through all the 'clarifications', I don't really find a clearcut numerical description of requirements or ANY reliable illustrations. I finally got, after two tries, the answer, at the final hours, that "the total cylindrical area that needs to be enclosed is 8m diameter x 16 m length."

    I would expect a self-contained, simple, explicit, bulleted list of exact requirements with copious illustrations describing exactly what is necessary. There should have been no need for the clarifications, such as they were.

    • 2 months ago
    1. nasacoeci
      Contest Holder
      • 2 months ago

      Sorry for any frustrations around our requirements. We were really seeking conceptual designs that we thought could provide new ideas in this area of compact storage with quite basic deployment requirements. We seem to have gotten some pretty amazing designs, so we don't think the requirements were too confusing.

      • 2 months ago
  • gbr582f4c9319110
    gbr582f4c9319110
    • 2 months ago

    Why do you say in the Public Clarification Board: "It doesn't necessarily have to be an origami design." The title of the Contest is: "NASA Contest: Develop an Origami/Folding Concept for Radiation Shield Packing/Deploying" Does it have to be foldable at all? Does it have to be a Shield? Does it have to be packed or deployed? Is this really a contest? If you say that "It doesn´t necessarily have to be an origami design" it seems that you have changed the rules of the contest and it is contradictory. One thing is the contest and another thing is real design that will be developed. The contest is requiring an "Origami/Folding Concept" in the title and the description, if you say "It doesn´t necessarily have to be an origami concept" then you have changed completely the contest. It is not logical. And it is not fair changing the contest just few hours before it closes. I am sorry but I cannot really understand this contradictory contest.

    • 2 months ago
    1. albertusjanuardy
      albertusjanuardy
      • 2 months ago

      Maybe what he meant is preferably origami design, since the folding nature of origami tend to save more space, which is the main concern of this project as far as i understand. But if you have other method that work better than origami design in term of saving space, then its even better. Thats what i gather anyway, cheers :)

      • 2 months ago
  • benjamindul
    benjamindul
    • 2 months ago

    Was I able to answer your questions in entry 131? Would you like a prototype of the two different scenarios I discussed in the comment section on my entry?

    • 2 months ago
  • laral4
    laral4
    • 2 months ago

    This doesn't answer the question. Do we need to cover the entire 4mx12m 'cylinder' with 2m stand-offs all around, i.e., a 4m+2m+2mx12m+2m+2m=8mx16m? Please give a precise answer.

    • 2 months ago
    1. nasacoeci
      Contest Holder
      • 2 months ago

      Yes, the total cylindrical area that needs to be enclosed is 8m diameter x 16 m length.

      • 2 months ago
  • laral4
    laral4
    • 2 months ago

    Please clarify. The 'Attachment - Challenge Constraints v2.pdf' document shows a drawing of "3 adjoining inflatable/rigid habitable modules for Mars transit vehicle." It shows the 3 modules, that are 4m in diameter, attached end to end, for a total of 12m in length. It shows a 2m stand-off on one side only.

    In light of your last answer– "The cylinder needs to be completely enveloped by the shield, as well as the end caps", is this the cylinder referred to?

    Are there 2m stand-offs all around the cylinder, including the end-caps, thus making the enclosed volume 8m in diameter and 16m in length or something different? This is obviously an important detail that affects the final design so please answer ASAP. Thank you.

    • 2 months ago
    1. nasacoeci
      Contest Holder
      • 2 months ago

      The "cylinder" is referring to the Mars transit vehicle. The 2m stand-offs include the end caps.

      • 2 months ago
  • laral4
    laral4
    • 2 months ago

    Please answer my question.

    • 2 months ago
  • nasacoeci
    Contest Holder
    • 2 months ago

    Just under 40 hours left to submit solutions for our challenge!!! Don't wait until the last minute. We've already extended this once and we won't be able to accept any late submissions. There are some really amazing submissions! Thanks for everyone's hard work!!

    • 2 months ago
    1. benjamindul
      benjamindul
      • 2 months ago

      I just submitted my entry #131. Can you please rate so I can resubmit if necessary. Thank you.

      • 2 months ago
    2. nathvolt
      nathvolt
      • 2 months ago

      It was fun and a pleasure to work on this challenge and find a good solution. Receiving a good evaluation for my work has already been a beautiful reward for me. Thanks.

      • 2 months ago
  • laral4
    laral4
    • 2 months ago

    #extended #increaseprize

    • 2 months ago
  • ospau16
    ospau16
    • 2 months ago

    Muchas gracias!!! por permitirme participar del concurso.

    • 2 months ago
  • HazemLash
    HazemLash
    • 2 months ago

    Greetings! I read in a previous clarification that all 4 sides must be covered, that means front, back, right and left. What about the top? Also, can the deployed shield be comprised of multiple pieces?

    • 2 months ago
    1. nasacoeci
      Contest Holder
      • 2 months ago

      Think of the Mars transit vehicle as a cylinder in space. The cylinder needs to be completely enveloped by the shield, as well as the end caps. The shield can be made of multiple pieces.

      • 2 months ago
  • sako700079
    sako700079
    • 2 months ago

    Since the stow dimension (10m diameter x 31m) are much larger than the radiation shield's deployed dimensions (8m diameter x 12m), is there any advantage to an origami solution? The shield's inner diameter could be used to stow many other components during transit, such as the spacecraft. Radiation leaks along hinge creases would also be avoided. I have experience in designing these types of structures with thickness accommodation and deployment mechanisms in mind, but I don't see an origami advantage described anywhere.

    • 2 months ago
    1. nasacoeci
      Contest Holder
      • 2 months ago

      It doesn't necessarily have to be an origami design.

      • 2 months ago
  • justinthao
    justinthao
    • 2 months ago

    Thanks for extending the deadline! I found out about this a week late. I have the perfect idea and I am almost done with my presentation. Can't wait!

    • 2 months ago
  • benjamindul
    benjamindul
    • 2 months ago

    Hello, I built a scale working prototype. I am not an animator, can I add a YouTube link in the PDF with measurements that will show the action of deployment?

    • 2 months ago
    1. nasacoeci
      Contest Holder
      • 2 months ago

      We will need to evaluate the PDF submission, but if you have an animation on YouTube, you can simply provide sequential screen shots in the PDF. Thanks.

      • 2 months ago
  • robrush37
    robrush37
    • 2 months ago

    As for deadline..seems to be 1 week and four days from august 11?? I have converted previous submission to pdf format. ready to re submit.

    • 2 months ago
    1. nasacoeci
      Contest Holder
      • 2 months ago

      Correct. We extended the deadline by 1 week.

      • 2 months ago
  • luisss749
    luisss749
    • 2 months ago

    Hello nasacoeci, i've reloaded my proposal for the GCR shield. Best regards, LS

    • 2 months ago
  • webdevelopernyc
    webdevelopernyc
    • 2 months ago

    Forgive if an oversight though in the provided documentation I have not noticed any deadline for the competition. Please advise. Also, is it possible to increase the prize winnings? TIA.

    • 2 months ago
    1. nasacoeci
      Contest Holder
      • 2 months ago

      That level of detail hasn't been determine yet. The purpose of this challenge is to focus on the shield itself and what is feasible given the launch vehicle constraints. Once we've down selected a shield design we can further look into those details. However, if you have a particular concept with that level of detail or you have recommendations, please feel free to include it.

      • 2 months ago
    2. webdevelopernyc
      webdevelopernyc
      • 2 months ago

      Thank you for the response as it allows for isolation and narrowing of focus.

      • 2 months ago

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