The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program nurtures visionary ideas that could transform future NASA missions with the creation of new technology and breakthroughs in engineering, computer science and biomechanics. You can find all of this years phase 1 and phase 2 recipients here. They all have incredibly fascinating ideas for exploring and learning about space, but we thought these three super interesting phase 1 proposals were worth a showcase.
- Modular Active Self-Assembling Space Telescope Swarms – Just like it sounds, this group would like to build a telescope that literally builds itself after it has been launched into space. Currently they are working on creating simulations of the launch as well as the processes needed for the construction, as it has to be very exact.
- Meteoroid Impact Detection for Exploration of Asteroids (MIDEA) – This group theorizes that we could be using resources found on Asteroids, like water and precious metals and that we should be exploring the ways to capture those resources. They propose we begin with a mission that would send small sensors out that would assess the potential for excavation.
- Biobot: Innovative Offloading of Astronauts for More Effective Exploration – This group is working on making space suits lighter by moving the life support system to a “Biobot” which, using a robotic system would follow along with the astronaut as they explore. This could enable astronauts to stay on the surface of the moon or perhaps in the future a planet like Mars for much longer than they have before.