NASA has announced that they will be setting a great part of its budget towards the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program (NIAC).
NIAC harbors many ambitious projects, and although many seem futuristic they’re completely plausible, as there are plans for colonizing and terraforming Mars.
The main focus behind NIAC is to “change the possible” through technically sound projects; many were proposed but only a few passed the screening.
The projects of NIAC
One of the most interesting projects is the Vision System Tropor Habitat Design, capable of “cycling the crew through inactive, non-cryonic torpor sleep states for the duration of the in space mission segments.”
The project is being developed by Spaceworks Engineering, aiming to research performance variations when the body is exposed to prolonged hypothermia and trying to achieve a state of human stasis. This will allow astronauts to engage in the deep sleep when facing long spatial journeys, as the distance between the earth and other planets varies according to the day of the earth year in relation to the planet’s solar cycle.
Rather than a cryogenic sleep chamber, the goal is to build a supporting structure to allow astronauts to sleep in extreme conditions such as the ones they’re frequently exposed to in space.
Another major project of NIAC is developing a magnet shell for Martian spacecraft so it is able to break as it lands, thus saving fuel which is considered of great value for the journey back to Earth. The Magnetoshell project is aimed towards both space probes headed for remote planets and space ships with a human crew.
There is another project that is expected to develop several growth-adapted tensegrity structures; in other words outposts with robots for refueling, repairs and anything that a spaceship might need. The first outposts are aimed towards being deployed on the lunar orbit, but researchers believe that the best scenario would be for these probes to be set on different locations of space.
The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program has the most creative scientists and engineers come up with new aerospace ideas that will allow mankind to take the next steps towards the conquering of space. Only eight proposals along with their creators made the cut of the NIAC’s Phase II program and each project is set to receive a sum of $500,000 for research funding. A complete list of the proposals can be viewed here.