/NASA picks far-out tech concepts for future study

NASA picks far-out tech concepts for future study

Key idea: Some of these ideas seem like science fiction, but they could one day assist space missions.

Original author and publication date: Alisa Harvey- April 25, 2022

Futurizonte Editor’s Note: What once was just science fiction, now it is turning into science reality. I wonder how much “fiction” still remains in our understanding of reality.

From the article:

NASA has selected a range of early-stage innovative studies that could benefit space missions in the future. These studies include custom-made spacesuits for Mars travel and new planetary defense technology that could pulverize asteroid threats.

Seventeen concepts received money in the latest round of funding for the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. In total, $5.1 million is being spent on these studies.

“NASA’s mission to explore the universe requires new technologies and new ways of doing things,” Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), said in a statement in February, when the awards were announced. “Studying these creative ideas is the first step to turn science fiction into science fact.”

Phase II of project development continues over the following two years. During this time, further technological advancements are made. Then, in Phase III, concepts need to be developed to produce the highest possible impact. This can be for use by NASA or by other government agencies or commercial partners.  

“As we set our sights on ever more challenging destinations for exploration with humans and robots, innovative ideas and future thinking will be critical to helping us reach new milestones,” Pam Melroy, NASA’s deputy administrator, said in the same statement.

One of the newly funded concepts is a parachuting probe that could enter Venus’ atmosphere and collect a sample of gas and clouds. The purpose of the project, proposed by a team led by Sara Seager from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is to help scientists in their search for life on other planets. 

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