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Chat GPT / Tree of Thoughts Method for Step IA Proposals

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

This post overviews a process for making junk drafts using Chat GPT.

Note that Chat GPT is not good at creative, original inventive work. However, diving into a strategy like this can prevent writer's block and you can begin your paper right away and get a junk draft quickly. The method that is best to use for this is called the Tree of Thoughts Method.

Step1 :

Prompt: I have a problem related to [describe your problem area]. Could you brainstorm three distinct solutions? Please consider a variety of factors such as [Your perfect factors],

Step 2:

Prompt: For each of the three proposed solutions, evaluate their potential. Consider their pros and cons, initial effort needed, implementation difficulty, potential challenges, and the expected outcomes. Assign a probability of success and a confidence level to each option based on these factors,

Step 3:

Prompt: For each solution, deepen the thought process. Generate potential scenarios, strategies for implementation, any necessary partnerships or resources, and how potential obstacles might be overcome. Also, consider any potential unexpected outcomes and how they might be handled.

Step 4:

Prompt: Based on the evaluations and scenarios, rank the solutions in order of promise. Provide a justification for each ranking and offer any final thoughts or considerations for each solution,

Here is an example using the CLOVER concept (which did not get an invitation to Step B):

Step 1:

Prompt: I am aiming to write a persuasive technical note about the significance and potential applications of using a genetically modified clover in agricultural or extraterrestrial contexts. Could you brainstorm three distinct angles or topics to approach this? Please consider factors such as environmental benefits, agricultural sustainability, soil improvement, and potential applications in space. The clover is being modified to enhance it's natural ability to collect water from the air using condensation and capillary action.

Step 2:

Prompt: For each of the three proposed angles/topics, evaluate their potential. Consider the pros and cons, depth of available research, relevance to future space exploration issues, potential challenges, and the expected outcomes from promoting that angle. Assign a probability of success and a confidence level to each option based on these factors.

Step 3:

Prompt: Deepen the thought process for each topic. Generate potential scenarios, strategies for presenting the information persuasively, any necessary partnerships or resources (like studies, experts, or institutions) that might add credibility, and how potential objections from critics might be addressed. Also, contemplate any potential unexpected outcomes of promoting each angle and how they might be handled.

Step 4:

Prompt: Based on the evaluations and scenarios, rank the three topics in order of their potential impact and persuasiveness for the white paper. Provide a justification for each ranking and offer any final thoughts or considerations for each topic before diving into writing the white paper.

Turning Tree of Thoughts Outputs into Papers

Out of the three approaches Chat GPT gives you, pick the one that sucks the least. If, when you read it's approaches, you see a path for a different approach (perhaps a blend of two of them), now is a good time to have it create your custom 4th approach. Otherwise, ask it to write your paper.

Prompt: Write a 1200 word persuasive technical note (white paper) using <Method 1, etc.>. The audience is the staff of a technical office at NASA, and they have a diverse background. Some of the office staff are scientists, policy experts, artists, executives, etc. Convey the <concept> such that a cognizant reviewer from this office can understand the technology idea in a space mission context. Structure each paragraph so it starts with a topic sentence, and make sure each topic sentence supports the over-arching idea of the paper. Make your conclusion paragraph very concise.

Here is the result for CLOVER


Water is the cornerstone of life, yet it remains a scarce commodity in many extraterrestrial environments. CLOVER, a genetically modified clover designed to enhance water collection from the air through condensation and capillary action, may provide a groundbreaking solution for sustainable agriculture beyond our planet. This white paper introduces NASA's technical office to the potentials and applications of this innovative concept in the realm of space exploration.

1. The Need for Water Beyond Earth:

Water scarcity is a fundamental challenge in establishing a foothold on planets like Mars or the Moon. Both manned and unmanned space missions heavily rely on Earth-supplied water, limiting their duration and scope. Achieving long-term space exploration and colonization necessitates sourcing water locally to sustain life and activities, emphasizing CLOVER's potential role in these endeavors.

2. The Science Behind CLOVER:

Genetic modification has turned the humble clover into a beacon of hope for space agriculture. By amplifying the plant's natural ability to condense and channel water through capillary action, CLOVER can extract moisture from thin atmospheres or micro-environments, potentially transforming inhospitable terrains into arable patches.

3. Environmental Advantages and Sustainability:

Sustainability is a critical concern in space colonization. Unlike resource-intensive water extraction methods or heavy equipment, CLOVER offers an environmentally friendly solution. Once established, it could serve as a consistent, renewable water source, supporting both plant life and, indirectly, human settlers.

4. The Versatility of CLOVER in Space Applications:

CLOVER isn't just about agriculture; its applications extend to various aspects of space missions. From supporting life to potentially aiding in the creation of building materials or terraforming regions, this simple plant could have multifaceted uses. Artists and architects might envision structures harmoniously integrated with these living water sources.

5. Partnerships and Credibility Boosters:

For CLOVER's successful integration into space missions, collaboration with diverse stakeholders is essential. Scientists can provide rigorous testing in simulated environments, while policy experts ensure its ethical and safe deployment. Engaging artists could result in innovative designs and applications, ensuring CLOVER's potential is fully realized.

6. Potential Challenges and Addressing Concerns:

Any new concept comes with its set of challenges. Skeptics might question the feasibility of introducing Earth-based organisms to extraterrestrial settings. Addressing these concerns requires thorough testing, transparent communication, and a commitment to respecting the environments we wish to inhabit.


CLOVER, as a concept, offers a fresh perspective on solving the water challenge in space exploration. Through its innovative design and function, it presents a vision where nature and science work in tandem, paving the way for a more sustainable, interconnected future beyond Earth. As NASA stands at the forefront of space exploration, embracing innovations like CLOVER could define the next chapter of our cosmic journey.

Plan to Rewrite the Whole Thing

What you should notice immediately is that Chat GPT missed the point. This always happens. You are the one that sees the potential and it is your job to add that sizzle. In this case, the point is to use clover to water the soil in a giant lunar lava tube simply by controlling the humidity. Clover could be growing out of the ceiling and wicking water straight up into "ceiling soil" and you could have corn growing down from the heavens. Chat GPT can't give you that "ohhhh, I see" moment. However, it's a good starting point for people that haven't written concise white papers before.

So, now you can copy this output into a Word doc, and you can rewrite the entire thing. If you made a poor quality draft by yourself already, you can probably work through the Chat GPT version by bringing in bits of your own work to fix the crappy parts and have a decent two page junk draft in one day. Remember, your main goal here is for this to be readable so the office can understand your technology in a mission context. You may need to change fundamental things about your technology or context later, so most of this junk draft will get rewritten anyways before you reach a rough draft status. A good way to check this is to have someone non-technical (who is also capable of offering critical feedback) read it. If you have to spend ten minutes explaining it to them after they read it, that's your fault, not theirs.

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