NASA Tournament Lab

Welcome to the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL) Showcase, which provides Solvers the opportunity to develop innovative solutions to the unique challenges faced by NASA in achieving its mission to pioneer the future of space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research. Solutions to these Challenges will not only benefit space exploration, but may also further the development of commercial products and services in the fields of health and medicine, industry, consumer goods, public safety, computer technology, and environmental resources.

The NTL Showcase is provided by NASA’s Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI) through its contract with Wazoku.

View the latest Challenges

Here's how the Challenge process works:


Sign up and complete your Solver profile

Review & Accept

Read the description of the Open Challenges in the Challenge Center and accept the Challenge Agreement


Upload proposed solution(s) you have developed for a specific Challenge


Receive cash awards for solutions accepted by Seeker organizations

Previous NASA Challenges

NASA has worked with the Wazoku Crowd to find solutions for Challenges from across the globe and outside of their industry.

Read more about two of these Challenges, NASA Solar Events and NASA Kevlar below and learn how Wazoku’s Crowd is helping NASA’s vision to discover and expand scientific knowledge and understanding for the benefit of humanity.

NASA Kevlar

Inflatable structures are being researched as a means for long-duration living in space. The research program at NASA hit a roadblock in testing a key material: Kevlar. A range of testing methods had been tried but none suited all scenarios. After many internal attempts, NASA came to InnoCentive. By focusing problem solvers, from outside the industry, directly at the problem, we were able to deliver a range of solutions and new possibilities.
NASA Kevlar

The Challenge

The research team suffered from a 3-year-old problem for how to test Kevlar webbing for its durability in the trying conditions in space. No existing method of testing works for all scenarios, since the best available method would fail at high temperatures. Due to competing priorities, the team no longer had enough resources to give the problem the time and attention it needed.

The Solutions

Seeking outside help from the crowd, the team at NASA offered a $20,000 award for a suitable solution. The award was shared between two US citizens and a Serbian national. Of these, one worked at a medical college, and had no formal background in materials science — his winning insight came from testing samples under stringent conditions.

The Results

With at least two winning solutions from places that they would never normally look, NASA found new possibilities to work with, ending a 3-year roadblock. The force multiplier of the crowd helped to save invaluable time for an over-stretched team. The winning solutions were quick, simple and easy to test.

“This Challenge allowed the team to continue on with other priorities; they do not have time to stop.”

Tom Jones
Deputy Project Manager, Research Lunar Surface Systems

NASA Solar Events

Solar flares have destructive effects on infrastructure on Earth, and also put astronauts at risk when in space. For many years, physicists have been trying to understand solar flares and their effect on the Earth. A major barrier to progress has been the lack of easily available data. Researchers at NASA challenged InnoCentive’s solvers to build a predictive algorithm that would accurately model solar particle behavior.
Astronaut on a spacewalk

The Challenge

“Solar particle events” are dangerous to astronauts, who have to take cover in specially-protected areas of space stations when they occur; for this reason, they can also seriously hamper missions. Despite a lot of work, until now there has been no available method to predict the onset, intensity or duration of such events. The challenge was to build a predictive algorithm to say with confidence when astronauts have the “all-clear” as well as, the ability to predict solar flares with plenty of lead time.

The Solutions

In response to this challenge, project rooms were opened in over 50 different countries. The $20,000 award was given to Bruce Cragin, a retired radio frequency engineer from New Hampshire, for his proposed use of ground-based data to predict solar events. His solution dramatically improved accuracy and time-window of predictions, giving a prediction capability of up to 8 hours with 85% accuracy, and a 3-sigma confidence interval.

The Results

The solution has been tested, and teams are now working to leverage the results, building them into current NASA programs.  The solution also provided a fresh perspective and new avenues of discovery to the solar physics community. Since 95% of solvers had never worked on a NASA project before, the agency was able to fulfill its public charter of engaging people through the challenge.