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What’s Next for NASA? 10 Wild, Newly Funded Projects

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 14, 2012

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program

NASA / JPL-Caltech


What’s next for NASA now that Curiosity has touched down on Mars? For a sneak peek into what the space agency has in store, take a look at the 28 proposals for the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program, which gives out awards of $100,000 and $500,000 for concepts that have the potential to “transform future aerospace missions.” Here are 10 of the most fantastic projects that NASA hopes will be inspiring people long after Curiosity has finished exploring Mars.

NIAC 2012 Phase I & Phase II Awards Announcement

The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program is proud to announce its 2012 awards. NIAC has selected eighteen new NIAC Phase I awards, and ten new Phase II awards based on earlier Phase I studies. These proposals have been selected based on the potential of their concepts to transform future aerospace missions, enable new capabilities, or significantly alter and improve current approaches.

Each Phase I study will receive approximately $100,000 for one year, and each Phase II study will receive approximately $500,000 for two years. These studies will advance numerous innovative aerospace concepts, and help NASA achieve future goals.

NASA Press Release

2012 Phase I Fellows

Principal Investigator Proposal Title Organization City, State, Zip Code
Agogino, Adrian Super Ball Bot – Structures for Planetary Landing and Exploration NASA ARC Moffett Field, CA 94035
Arrieta, Juan The Regolith Biters: A Divide-And-Conquer Architecture for Sample-Return Missions NASA JPL Pasadena, CA 91109-8001
Cohen, Marc Robotic Asteroid Prospector (RAP) Staged from L-1: Start of the Deep Space Economy Marc M. Cohen, Architect Palo Alto, CA 94306-3852
Ditto, Thomas HOMES – Holographic Optical Method for Exoplanet Spectroscopy 3DeWitt LLC Ancramdale, NY 12503-0010
Flynn, Michael Water Walls: Highly Reliable and Massively Redundant Life Support Architecture NASA ARC Moffett Field, CA 94035
Gellett, Wayne Solid State Air Purification System eSionic Menlo Park, CA 94025-1438
Hoyt, Robert NanoTHOR: Low-Cost Launch of Nanosatellites to Deep Space Tethers Unlimited, Inc. Bothell, WA 98011-8808
Hoyt, Robert SpiderFab: Process for On-Orbit Construction of Kilometer-Scale Apertures Tethers Unlimited, Inc. Bothell, WA 98011-8808
Kirtley, David A Plasma Aerocapture and Entry System for Manned Missions and Planetary Deep Space Orbiters MSNW, LLC Redmond, WA 98052-3557
Landis, Geoffrey Venus Landsailing Rover NASA GRC Cleveland, OH 44135-3127
Lantoine, Gregory MAGNETOUR: Surfing Planetary Systems on Electromagnetic and Multi-Body Gravity Fields NASA JPL Pasadena, CA 91109-8001
McCue, Leigh Exploration of Under-Ice Regions with Ocean Profiling Agents (EUROPA) Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg, VA 24061-0001
Nosanov, Jeffrey Solar System Escape Architecture for Revolutionary Science (SSEARS) NASA JPL Pasadena, CA 91109-8001
Predina, Joseph NIST in Space: Better Remote Sensors for Better Science ITT Space Systems, LLC Fort Wayne, IN 46818-1165
Quadrelli, Marco Orbiting Rainbows: Optical Manipulation of Aerosols and the Beginnings of Future Space Construction NASA JPL Pasadena, CA 91109-8001
Saif, Babak Atom Interferometry for detection of Gravity Waves-a NASA GSFC Greenbelt, MD 20771-2400
Winglee, Robert Sample Return Systems for Extreme Environments University of Washington, Seattle Seattle, WA 98195-1310
Zha, Gecheng Silent and Efficient Supersonic Bi-Directional Flying Wing University of Miami Coral Gables, FL 33146-2509

2012 Phase II Fellows

Principal Investigator Proposal Title Organization City, State, Zip Code
Duda, Kevin Variable Vector Countermeasure Suit (V2Suit) for Space Habitation and Exploration Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc. Cambridge, MA 02139-3539
Khoshnevis, Behrokh ISRU-Based Robotic Construction Technologies for Lunar and Martian Infrastructures University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 90089-0001
Miller, David High-Temperature Superconductors as Electromagnetic Deployment and Support Structures Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 02139-4301
Ritter, Joe OCCAMS: Optically Controlled and Corrected Active Meta-material Space Structures Neoteric Physics, Inc. Kihei, HI 96753-9310
Short, Kendra Printable Spacecraft: Flexible Electronic Platforms for NASA Missions NASA JPL Pasadena, CA 91109-8001
Slough, John The Fusion Driven Rocket: Nuclear Propulsion through Direct Conversion of Fusion Energy MSNW LLC Redmond, WA 98052-3557
Strekalov, Dmitry Ghost imaging of space objects NASA JPL Pasadena, CA 91109-8001
Westover, Shayne Radiation Protection and Architecture Utilizing High Temperature Superconducting Magnets NASA JSC Houston, TX 77058-3607
Whittaker, William Cavehopping Exploration of Planetary Skylights and Tunnels Astrobotic Technology, Inc. Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3524
Wie, Bong An Innovative Solution to NASA’s NEO Impact Threat Mitigation Grand Challenge and Flight Validation Mission Architecture Development Iowa State University Ames, IA 50011-2207

(PHOTOS: Seeing Red: 40 Years of Exploration on Mars)


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