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NASA Funds 18 New Space Technology Projects for Next Phase Study

via:cnBeta.COM     time:2019/4/15 13:32:22     readed:282


Since its inception in the 1950s, NASA has invested in a variety of cutting-edge technologies, from rocket design to zero-gravity pens. This approach has both contributed to the benefits and benefits of the NIAC program.

"Our NIAC plans to invest in revolutionary technology to foster vision that can change NASA's future missions," said Jim Reuter, deputy director of the NASA Space Technology Task Force. “We expect American innovators to help us break through the boundaries of space exploration with new technologies.”

The current NIAC selection is divided into the first phase and the second phase. For a nine-month evaluation and concept definition, the first phase is worth about $125,000, while the second phase is for more advanced research and includes up to $500,000 in two years. NASA said that all projects are in the concept stage, at least ten years from actual application.

The first phase of the selection includes:

Bioinspired Ray (BREEZE) for extreme environments and area detection

Javid Bayandor, State University of New York at Buffalo.


BREEZE is an inflatable robotic aircraft inspired by the "Devil Fish" that floats and slides on the upper layers of the Venus atmosphere at an altitude of 50 to 60 kilometers (31 to 37 miles). It will be powered by solar energy and can change its height by using cables to change the size of the aircraft.

According to the developer, the BREEZE can use the zonal wind like a jet to surround the Earth in four to six days - charging and exploring the night in 2-3 days. Instruments that may be carried may include mass spectrometers, turbidimeters, visible and near-infrared high-resolution cameras, magnetometers and anemometers, and sensors for measuring atmospheric pressure, temperature and density.

Long-term Venus Surface Task Power Beaming

Erik Brandon, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, California.


Another project to explore Venus, the Power Beaming study, will focus on powering Venus' surface missions. In this case, the "atmosphere platform" (balloon) will be fitted with solar panels, batteries and RF or microwave transmitters. The balloon floats on the upper layer of the Venus atmosphere, and the sun will charge the battery.

Once the battery is charged, the balloon will sink into the lower atmosphere, and the opaque clouds prevent the surface lander from using its own solar panels to get energy. The balloon's transmitter then emits energy to the lander, which is equipped with a special rechargeable, high-temperature molten salt or solid electrolyte battery, or a solid oxide regenerative fuel cell system that maintains a sufficient height at the surface temperature of Venus In order to melt lead. The balloon will then rise and repeat the process.


Ana Diaz Artiles, Texas A&M University Engineering Experiment Station.


Designed for Mars and other planetary missions, SmartSuit is not a passive pressurized airbag, but uses software robotics and soft, retractable self-healing materials combined with embedded sensors. The latter can collect data and display environmental and membrane structure information.

SmartSuit is a smart suite designed to enhance user mobility and flexibility, as well as interact with its environment. The soft robotic element also allows the suit to apply mechanical back pressure, which means that the kit does not need to be pressurized to the same extent as a conventional suit.

Dual-purpose exoplanetary telescope (DUET)

Tom Ditto, 3DeWitt LLC, Ancramdale, NY.


DUET is a new exoplanet hunting telescope designed to cover four times the area of ​​a ground-based telescope, but is light enough to be launched in a rocket payload. Orbital instruments manage this increase by eliminating the need for star shading or coronagraphs by Newton's first study of the two-dispersion technique, which allows DUET to separate the different wavelengths of the exoplanet and its parent star.

Micro-probe (MP4AE) driven and driven by planetary atmospheric electricity

Yu Gu, West Virginia University.


This novel study is based on the spider's "flying" capability and envisions a planetary exploration mission carried out by thousands of tiny detectors weighing approximately 50 milligrams. These will include a 200-meter (660-foot) string ring that provides atmospheric resistance and produces a small charge to power the detector as it floats in the planet's designated atmosphere.

ATEM reactor (SPEAR) probe supporting Swarm probe

Troy Howe, Howe Industries LLC, Tempe, Arizona.


SPEAR is an ultra-light nuclear power propulsion detector for deep space exploration. It will be powered by a new light reactor regulator and advanced thermoelectric generator (ATEG). Although the reactor does not generate as much power as other designs, it can be offset by lowering costs, which will increase the number of deep space missions. In addition, its use of low grade uranium means it can operate commercially.

Ripcord Innovation Power System (RIPS)

Noam Izenberg, Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, Maryland.


RIPS is a system that supplies power to short-lived atmospheric detectors. Essentially, it is a line that acts from the detector on a conical chute that uses drag to generate electricity during the descent. This method is suitable for the atmosphere of gas giant planets entering the detector, these detectors require high power for a short time.

The power of interplanetary flight

Geoffrey Landis, NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland.


This is an interstellar mission that uses a laser propulsion system to propel an ultra-small detector across the interstellar distance through an exoplanet. According to proponents, at this scale, when the detector passes through a new star system, the detector can harvest energy like a micro-generator.

Lunar Propellant Mining Outpost (LPMO)

Joel Serce, TransAstra Corporation, Lake View Terrace, California.


The lunar mining program LPMO aims to reduce the need to dig ice on the moon's poles by using an expandable solar array that can be placed vertically on a 100-meter-high mast to power the radiant gas dynamics (RGD) mining operations. LPMO does not dig out ice, but uses a combination of radio frequency, microwave, and infrared radiation to heat the ice deposits, then the ice deposits sublime and collect in a cryotrap to turn the gas into a liquid form.

Crosscutting High Apogee Fuel Track Navigator (CHARON)

John Slough, MSNW LLC, Redmond, Washington.


CHARON is a concept designed to clean up space debris that orbits the Earth, and these debris can cause damage to satellites and other spacecraft. CHARON uses an electrodeless Lorentz thruster, an ultra-light ion engine with a high thrust-to-power ratio. It will be placed in an elliptical orbit around the Earth where it will intercept and transport the debris to the attenuating orbit. Through its propeller, it will be able to change its orbit to hunt its target, and by immersing it in the atmosphere, it will be able to collect the propellant's oxygen and nitrogen molecules, making it essentially self-fueling.

Thermal Mining of Ices on Cold Solar System Bodies

George Sowers, Colorado School of Mines, Golden


Another lunar mining concept, which uses sunlight-heated underground conductors, heats the ice deposits, which are sublimated through the holes and collected in the yurt for re-freezing and collection.

Explore the low cost SmallSats of our solar system boundaries

Robert Staehle of JPL


The project aims to detect deep space at the edge of the solar system. In order to send a large number of low-cost spacecraft out of Jupiter, proponents hope to produce a CubeSat-like aircraft that can be launched as a secondary payload in planetary missions.

The second phase of the 2019 selection includes:

The High É tendue Multiple Object Spectrographic Telescope (THE MOST)

Tom Ditto, 3DeWitt LLC, Ancramdale, New York


MOST is a new concept of a space telescope that records high-resolution spectra for every object in the field of view, which is 100 times that of previous telescopes. It creates a spectral image of the entire sky by projecting the light through the plane of the grating to refract it and using a flat film that is highly tolerant of surface errors compared to the mirror. The second phase will see the construction and testing of the THE MOST lab model.

Rotational Motion Extended Array Synthesis (R-MXAS)

John Kendra, Leidos, Inc., Reston, Virginia.


The R-MXAS is a synthetic aperture imaging radiometer that is smaller and consumes less power than the current version. It does this by creating an interference baseline between the planar array and the rigid tether.

Self-guided beam thruster for breaking through interstellar missions

Chris Limbach, Texas A&M University Engineering Experimental Station.


Another interstellar mission, which uses a combination of laser and particle beam to create a self-guided energy beam that can propel an unmanned detector at speeds up to 10% of the speed of light. By using neutral particle beams and lasers, proponents claim that thermal expansion and diffraction during beam propagation through space will be eliminated.

Research on astrophysics and technology laboratory of solar neutrino spacecraft detector

Nickolas Solomey, Wichita State University, Kansas


This is a miniaturized neutrino detector designed for solar detectors to detect neutrinos in the near orbit of the Sun. Proponents say that a well-designed instrument in space weighs only 250 kilograms (550 pounds), but works the same as a 3,000-ton ground detector.

Diffractive LightSails

Grover Swartzlander, Rochester Institute of Technology, New York


The project uses solar sails to capture sunlight to provide spacecraft propulsion. This is nothing new, but the new version will use the metamaterial principle to make optical films instead of simple reflective polyester films. This will greatly increase efficiency, as the film will allow the sail to use so-called electric beam steering, where instead of keeping the sail angled, the diffracted light is used to achieve the same effect, which means the sail can remain optimal Angle to get the best acceleration.

Solar Surfing

Doug Willard, NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida.


Perhaps the most dramatic suggestion is the Solar Surfing project. In this case, the unmanned spacecraft will penetrate the sun's corona or the outer atmosphere, using a high-reflectivity coating to cover the thin solar shield and the secondary silver-plated reflector between the shield and the spacecraft to disperse Secondary infrared radiation. Proponents claim that this will allow the detector to be closer to the sun than the Parker Solar Detector.

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