NASA has selected researchers that will take part in initial studies focused on technologies for lunar missions including optical systems and “levitation” technology based on autonomous concepts.
NASA said Friday that the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) will provide $125,000 in grants to each of the 16 participants for Phase I of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program.
The participants will conduct feasibility studies throughout a nine-month perood and will be eligible to apply for Phase II grants if the projects are deemed successful.
NASA will provide $500,000 for each Phase II grantee to cover a two-month concept development period. Phase III involve contracts worth up to $2 million for two-year maturation activities.
Jenn Gustetic, director of early-stage innovations and partnerships at STMD, said that providing seed funding for initial research “could benefit NASA greatly in the long run."
Selected proposals cover a range of topics such as deployable space-based structures, lunar tracks for transporting cargo on the lunar surface and a “light bender” concept for generating power on the moon.