A skillful Canadian organization could win $527,500 in a challenge to develop new technologies to purify Moon water for human exploration on the Moon and beyond.
The Aqualunar Challenge is another collaboration between the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and Impact Canada. As with previous challenges where the CSA and Impact Canada have collaborated, one of the benefits should be that whatever technologies are developed would be to “advance water purification processes here on Earth.”
The problem challengers must overcome is that while larger quantities of Moon water ice may be found in the shadow regions near the south pole, current data suggests the water ice has a “number of contaminants preventing its use unless it is purified.”
There are three stages to challenge.
Stage 1- Concept Design: Challenge launched on January 17, 2024. Applications are open until April 8, 2024 at 11:59 pm Pacific Time. Teams will provide a detailed explanation of how their solution meets the Challenge objectives, Mission Scenario and judging criteria.
Stage 2- Proof of Concept: Beginning in June of 2024, semi-finalists selected in Stage 1 will move on to Stage 2 of the Challenge, where they will begin developing the key components of their prototypes based on their concept design (equivalent to a TRL 3). Semi-finalists will be expected to submit video footage to demonstrate their system or components of their system and will provide a final report that outlines how their technology meets the judging criteria listed.
Stage 3- Prototype Scaling: At this stage, selected finalists will have 10 months to integrate the components of their prototypes (minimum TRL 4). Finalists will demonstrate their systems and have their outputs tested and will be competing to be the Grand Prize Winner of the Challenge.
Canadian Grand Prize Winner for the Aqualunar Challenge will be announced in Spring of 2026.
There will be up to 8 Prizes of $22,500 from Stage 1. There will be up to 4 Prizes of $105,000 from Stage 2. And there will one Grand Winner of $400,000 from the Stage 3.
Who Can Participate
The Canadian Space Agency lists the following criteria for participation.
- a business or other for-profit organization in Canada
- a not-for-profit organization in Canada
- an Indigenous organization or group located in Canada
- a post-secondary institution located in Canada
- an individual or a group of individuals based in Canada
Aqualunar Challenge Applicant Guide
The Aqualunar Challenge Applicant Guide is available below and on the Impact Canada website.
The Aqualunar Challenge is also being held in the United Kingdom at the same time with their own prizes.