Nasa has awarded prize money to Peter Homer from Maine, who developed the winning concept for a more-flexible space glove that could make it easier for astronauts to perform tasks.

The competition, a part of Nasa’s centennial challenges programme, seeks innovative spacesuit glove design concepts to reduce the effort needed to do work during spacewalks.

In the 2009 challenge, teams were asked to develop a complete glove, including the outer, thermal-micrometeoroid-protection layer and the inner, pressure-restraining layer compared with just the pressure-restraining layer required for the last competition, in 2007.

The gloves had to meet all basic requirements of Nasa’s current spacesuit gloves and exceed their flexibility and have been tested to ensure they will not leak.

The competitors demonstrated their glove design by performing a range of tasks with the glove in a pressurised chamber.

Ted Southern of New York received the second-place prize of $100,000.

Nasa’s Johnson Space Center engineer Kate Mitchell said it is remarkable that two designers working on their own could create gloves that meet the requirements for spaceflight – a task that normally requires a large team of experts.