Four Futuristic Space Technology Concepts Selected by NASA for Further Research and Development

Conceptual Lunar Railway System

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This illustration reveals a conceptual lunar train system called FLOAT (Flexible Levitation on a Track) that has actually been chosen for an early-stage expediency research study within the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Four sophisticated area ideas from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have actually been chosen to get grants for more research study and advancement.

Early-phase research study into futuristic area concepts – a lunar levitation track system, light flexing lunar power system, approach for making soil from asteroid product, and more – might assist transform NASA’s innovation tool kit and leader brand-new sort of objectives. More than a lots scientists from within the firm, market, and academic community will get grants from the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program to study their ideas’ expediency.

“NIAC Fellows are known to dream big, proposing technologies that may appear to border science fiction and are unlike research being funded by other agency programs,” stated Jenn Gustetic, director of early-stage developments and collaborations within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). “We don’t expect them all to come to fruition but recognize that providing a small amount of seed-funding for early research could benefit NASA greatly in the long run.”

For 2021, STMD chosen 16 Phase I NIAC propositions, which provide a variety of creations and applications. Each chosen proposition will get a grant from NASA approximately $125,000. If their preliminary 9-month expediency research studies achieve success, NIAC Fellows can request Phase II awards. All NIAC research studies, despite stage, are early-stage innovation advancement efforts. They are ruled out and might never ever end up being NASA objectives.

Among the choices is a robotics engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, using a facilities concept for autonomously carrying freight on the Moon utilizing magnetic robotics that would levitate over a versatile track. The tracks would unroll on the lunar surface area, passing up significant on-site building and construction connected with structure roadways and trains on Earth. The Fellow will look into another NIAC Phase I study in parallel: swimming micro-robots for checking out ocean worlds.

A scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, will check out a principle for producing and dispersing power on the Moon. The “light bender” system would record, focus, and focus sunshine utilizing telescope optics.

An industry-based scientist with Trans Astronautica Corporation proposed a conceptual approach for making soil in area utilizing carbon-rich asteroids and fungis. The principle recommends the fungis would break down the product and turn it into soil to grow food and sustain massive deep-space environments.

An assistant teacher at Carnegie Mellon University will examine a light-weight and deployable structure style to permit kilometer-scale structures in area. The proposition recommends the structure might function as the foundation of a big turning spacecraft efficient in producing synthetic gravity.

“There is an overwhelming number of new participants in the program this year,” stated NIAC Program Executive Jason Derleth. “All but two of the researchers selected for Phase I awards will be first-time NIAC grant recipients, showing NASA’s early-stage opportunities continue to engage new creative thinkers from all over the country.”

The total list of scientists chosen to get NIAC Phase I grants in 2021 and the titles of their propositions are:

Sarbajit Banerjee, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station in College Station

Regolith Adaptive Modification System to Support Early Extraterrestrial Planetary Landings

Sigrid Close, Stanford University in Stanford, California

Exploring Uranus: Sustained ChipSat/CubeSat Activity Through Transmitted Electromagnetic Radiation (SCATTER)

Amelia Greig, University of Texas in El Paso

Ablative Arc Mining for In-Situ Resource Utilization

Zachary Manchester, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh

Kilometer-Scale Space Structures from a Single Launch

Patrick McGarey, JPL

Passively Expanding Dipole Array for Lunar Sounding (PEDALS)

Quinn Morley, Planet Enterprises in Gig Harbor, Washington

Autonomous Robotic Demonstrator for Deep Drilling (ARD3)

Christopher Morrison, Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC-Tech) in Seattle

Extrasolar Object Interceptor and Sample Return Enabled by Compact, Ultra Power Dense Radioisotope Batteries

E. Joseph Nemanick, The Aerospace Corporation in Santa Monica, California

Atomic Planar Power for Lightweight Exploration (APPLE)

Steven Oleson, NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland

Titan Sample Return Using In-situ Propellants

Marco Pavone, Stanford University

ReachBot: Small Robot for Large Mobile Manipulation Tasks in Martian Cave Environments

Ronald Polidan, Lunar Resources Inc. in Houston

FarView: In-situ Manufactured Lunar Far Side Radio Observatory

Ethan Schaler, JPL (2 choices)

FLOAT: Flexible Levitation on a Track

SWIM: Sensing with Independent Micro-swimmers

Jane Shevtsov, Trans Astronautica Corporation in Lake View Terrace, California

Making Soil for Space Habitats by Seeding Asteroids with Fungi

Charles Taylor, Langley

Light Bender

Joshua Vander Hook, JPL

Solar System Pony Express

NIAC supports visionary research study concepts through several progressive stages of research study. Researchers throughout U.S. federal government, market, and academic community with high-impact concepts can send propositions.

Phase II NIAC scientists get approximately $500,000 grants to more establish their ideas for approximately 2 years. Phase III objectives to tactically shift NIAC ideas with the greatest possible effect for NASA, other federal government companies, or industrial partners. Phase III scientists get an agreement approximately $2 million to develop their objective principle over 2 years.

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