Following on the success of the inaugural Space Brain Hack initiative, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) announced the latest edition and this years theme.
Last years challenge focused on astronaut mental health in isolated conditions. The grand prize winners were from Oakville, Ontario, for PeaceMaker (Grades 6 to 8 category) and from Calgary, Alberta, for Cosmic Companions: Digital Pets in Space (Grades 9 to 12 category).
“PeaceMaker” is a VR headset proposal including “stereo sound, detection gloves and preprogrammed places on Earth that the astronaut is fond of,” which would change based on the astronaut’s brain waves and especially meant to be adapted for moments of isolation.
“Cosmic Companions: Digital Pets in Space” would use digital pets as artificial intelligence (AI) assistants to give astronauts simulation during periods of boredom, reminders for tasks, and provide “multimedia content, such as music, movies, documentaries, and audio files that are unique to their preferences.”
Theme: Producing fresh, nutritious food for the astronauts
The theme this year centres around food for the astronauts.
“Canada and the global space community are preparing for the Artemis and Lunar Gateway missions that will take humans back to the Moon and later on to Mars. With these ambitious goals come changes to space missions that will require new approaches for producing fresh, nutritious food for the astronauts, which is the theme of this year’s Space Brain Hack.”
The CSA described the challenge this year as:
“You are a future lunar astronaut on a one-year mission on the Moon. Design a food production system that creates fresh food for you and your fellow crewmates, full of flavour and nutrients, with the least possible waste. Keep in mind the constraints presented to you and generate enough fresh food to supplement the packaged food for a crew of four adults.”
The challenge is open to youth in grades 6 to 8 and grades 9 to 12. The CSA states that “the activity can be held in schools, youth organizations, science centres and museums across Canada, or at home.”
To participate individuals or organizations need to complete an online submission form on the CSA website. The CSA has also provided a variety of resources for those interested including a Frequently Asked Questions section.