NASA is inviting college students to design technologies that can be integrated into a habitat in which future astronauts could live and work in deep space, the Washington Post reports. The offer is called the 2013 Exploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge, and it is an effort by the space agency to promote science learning and help inspire a new generation of creative engineers. The challenge asks students to submit, by May 2, applications that show plans for the design, manufacture, assembly and testing of an inflatable loft that can be incorporated into an existing NASA-built operational hard-shell prototype. This year, students can choose from projects that include photovoltaic solar arrays, a workstation to support human-robotic collaboration or a telepresence and holodeck conceptual system…

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