NASA wants AI, machine learning experts for new challenge

Published by:
Posted on: June 9, 2020 6:50 pm EDT

NASA is ready to give away massive amounts of funding to innovative AI projects

NASA has always been at the front of the most advanced technology. Now, its Science Mission Directorate (SMD) just launched a pilot Entrepreneurs Challenge to advance the agency’s science exploration goals. This three-phase challenge will focus on leveraging emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and robotics that are currently trending in the commercial sector.

The challenge will start by selecting 15 to 20 participants for the first phase of the event in which candidates will present their proposals on July 29. From there, NASA will select the first ten proposers who will advance to the next phase. The selected participants will receive up to $100,000 in SMD funds, as well as eligibility to take part in NASA-related activities through its Small Business Innovative Research program. Ten teams will be selected for funding from NASA and the chance to compete for up to $80,000 in additional prize funding.

The second round of the challenge will feature a live event where proposers will present their technologies to attendees and venture capital firms. The final ten participants will receive $20,000 in funding and an invitation to submit their full versions of the project during the Innovation and Opportunity Conference that will take place in the fall.

NASA has started to receive applications and it will close this period on June 26. There is a range of subject areas that include quantum sensors, mass spectrometry and AI-based technologies for autonomous spacecraft and rovers. Each participant can submit concepts related to any of those listed areas. “There’s a lot of energy and fresh thinking as a result of the entrepreneurial spirit that has emerged in our field over the past few years,” said Michael Seablom, NASA’s chief technologist for science. “We want to be sure we’re not leaving good ideas on the table or missing the contributions some of these potential partners could make to the exciting science missions coming up.”