PROXIMA | You are my Sunshine

New York, NY

Awards & Nominations

PROXIMA has received the following awards and nominations. Way to go!

Global Nominee

The Challenge | You are my Sunshine

Create a medium to help people understand energy output from a solar panel, and a tool to plan energy consumption based on expected energy output from solar technologies.

Proxima decision support system for energy management

Proxima simplifies energy decision making. It delivers clean, easy-to-read metrics and leverages powerful predictive algorithms to help you make immediate and future energy consumption decisions.

PROXIMA

Proxima is an intelligent energy management system inspired by the unique challenges faced by NASA and HI-SEAS. The solution is designed to actively monitor a habitat’s overall energy health, to deliver real-time energy status to the crew, and to recommend the optimal course of action to bring energy consumption in line with energy production and reserves in both day-to-day and emergency scenarios.

How does it work?

Proxima’s machine learning algorithms continuously analyze data from multiple sources:

  • Energy production systems (solar panels)
  • Energy storage systems (batteries)
  • Energy consumption (anything using electricity, like lab or communications equipment)
  • Past mission data
  • Weather forecasts and environmental sensors

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What does it do?

Next, it combines the data, looks for patterns, and makes predictions about the habitat’s total energy budget. For example, Proxima could inform the crew about any of the following conditions:

  • The next 36 hours look good. Proceed normally.
  • The next 2 days will have increased solar activity. Solar panel output should be at a maximum efficiency during this time.
  • A dust storm is predicted and will reach your location in 4 days. Solar panel output will be extremely low.

Energy information, driven by Proxima’s machine learning system, is available to crew members through dashboards and mobile or wearable devices.

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Finally, Proxima makes recommendations based on the observed and predicted conditions. Imagine you’re the commander of a Mars base and you get an alert from Proxima that solar activity will be high. You might treat your crew to a load of laundry. Or perhaps solar panel output is expected to be low for the next day. You’ll have to select some non-critical systems to shut down or some lab experiments to delay. Proxima can help you make day-to-day decisions about how to use your location’s energy efficiently.

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Proxima can also increase response time and reduce the need for complex, manual procedures in the case of an emergency. Suppose a member of your crew accidentally crashes a rover into one of your solar panels. Your energy production is substantially reduced. Fortunately, Proxima has not only alerted you but has also proposed three possible courses of action. You can quickly select the recommended option and allow Proxima to shut down non-essential systems to maintain power to mission-critical equipment.

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Benefits for NASA

NASA has built and maintained robust power management systems for decades. Proxima offers features that make NASA’s systems work even better:

  • Easy-to-use dashboards and alerts (current and legacy systems have complex, cumbersome interfaces)
  • Machine learning that analyzes data from the local environment and forecasts from NASA resources on Earth

Members of the HI-SEAS crew have already shown support for a tool like Proxima!

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Other terrestrial applications

The features that make Proxima ideal for a Mars mission also make it a great option for power management and decision support situations here on Earth. For example:

  • Large commercial farms that rely on solar power
  • Forward operating bases for the military
  • Remote villages
  • Relief workers setting up operations in areas where normal infrastructure is damaged or non-existent

Additional resources

We also created a virtual reality prototype. This demo, available at https://mlevin2.github.io/proxima/, lets you see what a crew member might experience using Proxima. In the demo, you can select different times of the Martian day and see the information predicted by Proxima on the dashboard.

Project materials:

Resources used:

Social media highlights:

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SpaceApps is a NASA incubator innovation program.