NASA is launching the Earth and Space Air Prize with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to develop innovative technology that can help improve air quality and health in space and on Earth.
Airborne particulate matter in aerosols can contribute to a variety of human health problems such as asthma and respiratory tract irritation. NASA needs small, easy-to-maintain, inexpensive aerosol sensors for missions aboard the International Space Station and future deep space exploration. There is a similar need in Earth communities for robust, versatile, easily installed, efficient and affordable air quality sensors. Multiple miniaturized gas sensors are currently available; however, instruments that measure particulate matter with appropriate accuracy for these applications still require some research and development.
The aim for this challenge is to advance the development of aerosol sensor technologies useful in both human space flight as well as on Earth, and for NASA to develop a sensor that can be flown in a future flight experiment.