(PR-NEWSWIRE, WASHINGTON)—NASA, in a recent reprieve for ingenious technology development and visionary engineering, has selected a dozen proposals for study under Phase I of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program.
The concepts proposed are anything but grounded: the use of the submersible for exploration in Titan’s methane lakes; fully enabling neutrinos to quantify the outer planets’ frozen moons; the safe containment of space junk, tumbling asteroids and objects entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
Investments in these seeds may break on through to the other side of those technologies required for NASA’s bigger plans into the dark matter beyond low-Earth orbit, deep-space and future missions to Mars. NIAC Phase I concepts are to be provided approximately $100,000 in funding, enough for a nine-month trial period for development and analysis, based on their capacity to affect aerospace undertakings and their percieved ability to skyrocket NASA toward goals longwithstanding. If successful Phase II awards can be applied for and attained, providing a two-year stipend of $500,000 for conceptual advancement.
“The latest NIAC selections include a number of exciting concepts for planetary exploration,” said Michael Gazarik, NASA’s associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) in D.C. “We are working with innovators around the nation to transform the future of aerospace while also focusing our investments on concepts to address challenges of current interests both in space and here on Earth.”
NASA seeks the visionary prospects, those radiating potential, for the long-term application to agency space missions and operations, albeit the infantile nature of the concepts, years away from action. Chosen through peer-review the applicants are tested to their limits, evaulated for their benefits to the furthering of aerospace engineering, their technical approach and their attainability for the ‘what-could-be.’
NIAC’s handpicked ideas are a colorful palette of pioneers and cross-platforms, representative of a multiplicity of applied sciences ranging from space propulsion and human habitation to the instrumentation and use therof of materials in and out of orbit. Over the next year or two NIAC, a subsiderary of STMD, will make strides in addressing a handful of challenges labeled as “high-priority” to
swing an ax at achieving a safe and economical exploration of deep-space.
“The 2014 NIAC Phase I candidates were outstanding, which made final selections decisions particularly difficult,” said NIAC Program Executive Jay Falker. “So we considered various kinds of potential benefit and risk, and developed this portfolio to really push boundaries and explore new approaches, which is what makes NIAC unique.”
With sights set on bettering developing technology key thrust areas are in parallel to recommendations by the National Research Council, NASA’s Space Technology Roadmaps, the Space Technology Investment Plan.
The concepts are supportive of thrust areas of STMD ideation: advanced life support and resource utilization, methods of space observation and robotic systems, as well as in NASA’s Asteroid Initiative and missions to the outer planets.
What was once a 2001 space odyssey may be finally brought to life through these brilliant modern-day pioneers of technology development and aerospace engineering.