You may not be a Top Gun level pilot, astronaut or rocket scientist, but there may still be something you can do for NASA.

Like folding paper.

Crowdsourcing Solutions

NASA has again teamed up with Freelancer.com, the world’s largest crowdsourcing and freelancing marketplace, to crowdsource solutions for three new challenges.freelancing at NASA

In the past, NASA and Freelancer.com have collaborated on 29 contests, attracting over 6,800 contest entries from freelancers from 123 countries.

The projects have included creating 3D models to train the image recognition system of the Robonaut R2 robotic astronaut on the International Space Station; the design and programming of a smartwatch interface for use by astronauts and a robotic arm design for the Astrobee, the next generation of free flying robot on the International Space Station.

Now, Freelancer.com and NASA’s Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI) have released their latest challenges. NASA has called on professionals worldwide to submit entries for three challenges:

  • A contest to create an animation storyboard for a two-minute video or animation for the REALM (RFID-Enabled Autonomous Logistics Management) to describe the experiments to more accurately track items in space habitats for a non-technical audience.
  • A challenge to use origami folding concepts to pack and deploy radiation shielding for a Mars transfer vehicle that will take humans into deep space. The shielding will protect against galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) and the human travellers against cancer risk – a huge challenge for space exploration.
  • A mission patch design contest for NASA’s In Space Manufacturing Refabricator project. In 2015, the NASA’s In Space Manufacturing (ISM) project made history by sending the first 3D printer to the International Space Station (ISS) and manufacturing the first parts ever in space. Now the “Refabricator” effort looks to take that process further by recycling plastic in space to reuse as other 3D printed parts. The product should graphically convey the key theme of space exploration, recycling of materials, and on-demand manufacturing. The graphic will be used in multiple ways including in presentations, on team items (mugs, shirts, etc) and in materials developed for education and public outreach.

NASA’s says all the challenges “are aimed at people who are passionate about NASA and space exploration and have a talent for creative ideas and design.”

The Power of Human Ingenuity

Freelancer.com CEO Matt Barrie said, “We’re calling upon our 24 million users to imagine how robots can automatically prepare the space environment for human arrival, making life easier and more secure for the incoming astronauts.

NASA represents some of the very best ideas that our planet has to offer and I’m sure our community will once again show the power of human ingenuity.”

Fancy having a go – and telling everyone you freelance for NASA?!

You can find out more about the challenges here and learn about the experiment in detail on the NASA website: