It’s no secret NASA is working on unusual groundbreaking technology that could change the way we perceive the universe and everything in it. NASA’s new technology is going to help us explore not only the worlds in our solar systems, but also the planets that are located outside of it, and perhaps, even outside our galaxy.
The space agency has invested in 25 “early-stage” inventions that could bring a lot of enhancements to the human and robotic exploration. More importantly, some of NASA’s new technology could be more inventive than the others.
NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Phase I for 2018 concepts are rather interesting, as there are a lot of new innovations, according to NASA’s press release. The awards for Phase I are valued at roughly $125,000 over the course of nine months. The budget should support the original analysis and learning about the concepts. If everything goes according to the plan, awardees will be able to apply for the awards for Phase II.
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“The NIAC program gives NASA the opportunity to explore visionary ideas that could transform future NASA missions by creating radically better or entirely new concepts while engaging America’s innovators and entrepreneurs as partners in the journey,” Jim Reuter, acting associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate said in a press release. “The concepts can then be evaluated for potential inclusion into our early stage technology portfolio.”
One of those concepts is called Shapeshifters. Shapeshifter refers to something that can change its shape for different needs. For example, if there are a lot of robots somewhere, they can combine themselves together and create a new shape that would be eligible for different kinds of exploration. Perhaps, it could be even possible for those robots to shift into a plane that could participate in missions at high altitudes.
The second proposal is known as Biobot. Biobot would be in charge of supporting astronauts and helping with their life support onboard the ISS. However, it would seem unreasonable to entrust your life to a robot, especially when you’re located in a foreign world with an extremely hostile environment, although machines could help explorers survive for many days in that same hostile environment, until they’d return to their base. Biobot could also utilize some mechanism for helping astronauts with the gear or even a communication system that would help them communicate with people on Earth.
Another of NASA’s new prospective technologies includes a project called Marsbee. It’s a large swarm of mini flying robots that could serve as a great help to rovers on the Red Planet. There is also SPARROW, a steam-propelled robot, that could help researchers study oceans. PROCSIMA, beamed propulsion, would work on interstellar missions that are growing popular especially after ‘Oumuamua, a cigar-shaped asteroid, believed to be coming from interstellar space visited our solar system last year.
Of course, some of these concepts won’t make it to the finals or be used in near future missions. However, it is nice to see in what direction NASA’s technology is moving and how much space exploration missions could be enhanced with the new ideas.