N ASA has announced the selection of 25 early-stage technology proposals supported by the Space Agency. These new and creative concepts do not disappoint, ranging from shapeshifters and biobots to ballooning and telescopic swarming.
NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) are being offered in two phases. Phase I concepts are selected for their potential to revolutionize future space exploration. Prices are estimated to be about $ 125,000 over nine months. During this time, NASA supports the first definition and analysis of their concepts.
One of the outstanding concepts is David Akin's Biobot, a design that can potentially offload some of the weight of an astronaut's back for easier exploration. Other ideas are taken from the pages of science fiction novels and dissected for a theoretical model, as in Aliakbar Aghamohammadi's concept. His "Shapeshifters from Science Fiction to Science Fact: Globetrotting Titan's Rugged Cliffs to its Deep Seafloors" suggests a robotic platform capable of maneuvering various areas, be it in the atmosphere, on a smooth surface or on the Underground
"The NIAC program gives NASA the opportunity to explore visionary ideas that could revolutionize future NASA missions by creating radically better or wholly new concepts, while America's innovators and entrepreneurs are partners in the journey involved, "said Jim Reuter, assistant employee administrator of the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate. "The concepts can then be evaluated for possible inclusion in our early-stage technology portfolio."
If Phase I proves successful, award winners will be able to apply for Phase II awards based on the results and feasibility of each concept. There the big money is spent. These programs can often be worth $ 500,000 on two-year projects, giving participants time to refine their models and explore new ways to implement the technology. Phase II receivers such as John Slough can now test whether the conceptual magnetospheric dipolar torus (MDT) can protect Earth from galactic cosmic rays.
"The competition in Phase I was with over 230 proposals and only 25 particularly fierce winners," said Jason Derleth, NIAC program manager. NASA selected these 25 concepts in a peer review process that assessed innovation and technical feasibility, but it is clear that the space agency was also looking for a wow factor.
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