The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected eight technology proposals for investment that have the potential to offer some advances for future aerospace missions.
The selected projects are from the phase II of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program, (NIAC). This funding can be worth up to $500,000 for a two-year study and will allow proposers to further develop concepts funded by phase I of the NIAC, which has proven to be feasible and beneficial for the institution, according to a press release from NASA.
“The NIAC program is one of the ways NASA engages the U.S. scientific and engineering communities, including agency civil servants, by challenging them to come up with some of the most visionary aerospace concepts,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington, in the statement. “This year’s Phase II fellows have clearly met this challenge,” he added.
Some of the awarded projects include an interplanetary habitat configured to induce deep sleep for astronauts on long-duration missions, a highly efficient dual aircraft platform that may be able to stay aloft for weeks or even months at a time and a method to produce “solar white” coating, for scattering sunlight and cooling fuel tanks in space down to 300ºF below zero, with no energy input needed.
The phase II will enable scientists to further investigate their designs and explore aspects of implementing the new technology. The program is an effort made by NASA to expand technological solutions to future plans that could even lead to a successful human Mars exploration.
Changing the possible
According to Jason Derleth, the NIAC program executive at NASA, the selection of the projects that will continue to phase II are always challenging, but they were especially challenging this year with so many successful phase-I studies applying to move forward with their cutting-edge technologies.
Whether it is tensegrity habitats in space, new ways to get humans to Mars, delicate photonic propulsion or any other amazing phase II studies that NIAC is funding, Derleth assured to be thrilled to welcome those innovations and their innovators back to the program. Hopefully, they will do that NIAC does best, “change the possible”, he added.