Lunar exploration requires vital resources –
Including Water.

Explore the Challenge.

Help NASA excavate ice on the moon.

Design a system architecture to excavate

icy regolith and deliver acquired resources in extreme lunar conditions.

Up to $500,000

in Phase 1 Prizes.

Register Now

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Help NASA design a system for excavating and delivering icy regolith in extreme lunar environments.

As NASA works to extend human exploration of the solar system, a sustained presence on the Moon will be critical for developing and testing the technologies and systems needed for future missions to Mars and beyond.

The development of lunar materials for life support, fuel, energy, manufacturing, and construction- or in situ resource utilization (ISRU)— is needed to enable a sustained, human presence on the Moon. One of the most important of these resources is water. Water supports all life on Earth, and will be critical to supporting human exploration beyond Earth. On the Moon, water is trapped in icy regolith at the lunar poles, including inside permanently dark and cold craters.

Mission Scenario

The Mission Scenario takes place in and around a permanently shadowed region (PSR) near the lunar South Pole. In this scenario, the mission will last 365 Earth days.

The Challenge seeks solutions to maximize water delivery and minimize energy use and the mass of equipment required to be transported to the lunar surface.

Explore the Mission Scenario

How to Enter

Enter NASA’s Break the Ice Lunar Challenge in 4 simple steps.

the Challenge’s mission scenario, Phase 1 submission requirements, scoring criteria, contest rules, eligibility requirements and timeline.
for the Challenge on the Register page.
optional webinars held in December 2020 and January 2021.
Watch the BTIL Challenge Informational Webinar
your innovative concept by June 18, 2021.

Phase I Prize Awards

1st Place


2nd Place


3rd Place


Up to (10) Runners Up

$250,000 ($25,000 each)


Up to $500,000



NOVEMBER 18, 2020

Phase 1 opens


- Webinars to support registered Teams and potential Teams in developing their system architectures
- Promotional activities and/or other support for registered Teams
- Judging Panel Summit (virtual) to brief judges on roles/responsibilities and Challenge rules

JUNE 18, 2021

Deadline for registration and for Teams to submit their system architectures

JUNE – JULY, 2021

- Administrative review of the system architectures to verify compliance with rules
- Judging Panel may conduct virtual interviews with Teams


- Judging Panel reviews and scores the system architectures
- Judging Panel Summit (virtual) to determine Phase 1 winners

AUGUST 13, 2021

Phase 1 winners announced

Submission Requirements

Teams will deliver Phase 1 Submission through the Challenge Submission Form.

Phase 1 Submission Requirements

  • Submission Title
  • Team Information
  • Technical Abstract
  • Intellectual Property
  • Team Video Pitch
  • System Architecture
  • Excavation Plan
  • Mission Animation
  • Legal and other required documentation
How to Enter

Ready to get started building your solution?

Read the Phase 1 submission requirements.