NASA has recently selected seven technology proposals for study under Phase II of the agency's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program. The proposals include various projects, such as metallic lithium combustion for long-term robotics operations, submarines that explore the oceans of icy moons of the outer planets, and a swarm of tiny satellites that map gravity fields and characterize the properties of small moons and asteroids.
The proposals were based on their potential to transform the future of aerospace missions, introduce new capabilities or significantly improve current approaches to building and operating aerospace systems.
"NASA's investments in early-stage research are important for advancing new systems concepts and developing requirements for technologies to enable future space exploration missions," said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA’s Headquarters in Washington. "This round of Phase II selections demonstrates the agency's continued commitment to innovations that may transform our nation's space, technology and science capabilities,"he adds.
NIAC Phase II awards can be worth as much as $500,000 for a two-year study. The awards will allow the proposers to further develop their concepts. The projects were selected through a peer-review process that evaluated innovativeness and technical viability. All projects are still in the early stages of development, with most requiring 10 or more years of concept maturation and technology development before it is used on a mission.
"This is an excellent group of NIAC studies," said Jason Derleth, NIAC Program executive at NASA Headquarters. "From seeing into cave formations on the moon to a radically new kind of solar sail that uses solar wind instead of light, NIAC continues to push the bounds of current technology."
For the list of the selected proposals, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/niac