A majority of NASA facilities may be closed and on telework status, but that’s not stopping America’s space agency from coming together to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

NASA is sourcing innovative ideas on how to respond to the spread of COVID-19.

On April 1, NASA launched an agency-wide call for ideas on its internal crowdsourcing platform NASA @ WORK. The internal website fosters collaboration and provides NASA employees with an inventive way to share knowledge and solve challenges.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine says the effort is in response to employees already wanting to help.

“I’ve heard from employees across the agency who want to help the nation combat COVID-19. These comments exemplify the prevailing, can-do spirit of NASA people and our willingness to take on any challenge,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

“As the nation comes together to confront this crisis, we must look at every opportunity for NASA to lend a hand and increase our contribution to America’s response.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of ideas we receive and how they may be able to propel additional meaningful contributions to the COVID-19 response,” said Bridenstine.

The agency highlights four areas of focus:

  • Novel approaches to enable rapid, effective personal protective equipment: Ideas for the development of self-sanitizing personal protective equipment and other novel approaches for sterilizing or repurposing personal protective equipment. Proposed techniques or technologies should be effective, quick, readily implementable, and not affect the filtration, function, or fit of the original even after several cycles of decontamination.
     
  • Rapid design and prototyping of innovative ventilation devices: Ideas that focus on systems with simple interfaces that can be rapidly produced. Considerations may include designs that allow for rapid prototyping, expedited regulatory approval and quick manufacturing, or innovative public-private partnership solutions for the rapid delivery of ventilation devices.
     
  • Forecasting COVID-19’s spread and its impacts on society and Earth: Innovative ways to use NASA data or data information products, data analytics, high performance computing, artificial intelligence, and/or other capabilities to predict the spread of COVID-19 and/or address the virus’s environmental, economic and societal impacts.
     
  • Other ideas within NASA’s mission: Solutions including but not limited to telemedicine, digital assistants to enable healthcare workers to monitor critically ill patients with light and lean architectures, telerobotics to remotely sustain industrial operations, non-contacting diagnostic sensors, and applications of human space exploration lessons learned in dealing with social isolation and blended work/home environments.

The agency will take submissions through April 15 with the goal of sharing what it learns as open source information for businesses to implement.

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