WASHINGTON, D.C. -- NASA's Space Technology Program is turning science fiction into science fact. The program has selected 28 proposals for study under the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program.
Eighteen of these advanced concept proposals were categorized as Phase I and 10 as Phase II. They were selected based on their potential to transform future aerospace missions, enable new capabilities, or significantly alter and improve current approaches to launching, building and operating aerospace systems.
The selected proposals include a broad range of imaginative concepts, including a submarine glider to explore the ice-covered ocean of Europa, an air purification system with no moving parts, and a system that could use in situ lunar regolith to autonomously build concrete structures on the moon.
"These selections represent the best and most creative new ideas for future technologies that have the potential to radically improve how NASA missions explore new frontiers," said Michael Gazarik, director of NASA's Space Technology Program at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "Through the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program, NASA is taking the long-term view of technological investment and the advancement that is essential for accomplishing our missions. We are inventing the ways in which next-generation aircraft and spacecraft will change the world and inspiring Americans to take bold steps."
NIAC Phase I awards of approximately $100,000 for one year enable proposers to explore basic feasibility and properties of a potential breakthrough concept. NIAC Phase II awards of as much as $500,000 for two years help further develop the most successful Phase I concepts and analyze their potential to enable new or radically improved future NASA missions and potential applications with benefits for industry and society.
"We're excited to be launching Phase II, allowing the 2012 NIAC portfolio to feature an exciting combination of new ideas and continued development of last year's Phase I concepts," said Jay Falker, NIAC program executive at NASA Headquarters.
NASA solicited visionary, long-term concepts for technological maturation based on their potential value to NASA's future space missions and operational needs. These projects were chosen through a peer-review process that evaluated their innovation and how technically viable they are. All are very early in development—10 years or longer from use on a mission.
NASA's early investment and partnership with creative scientists, engineers, and citizen inventors from across the nation will provide technological dividends and help maintain America's leadership in the global technology economy.
The portfolio of diverse and innovative ideas selected for NIAC awards represent multiple technology areas, including power, propulsion, structures, and avionics, as identified in NASA's Space Technology Roadmaps. The roadmaps provide technology paths needed to meet NASA's strategic goals.
NIAC is part of NASA's Space Technology Program, which is innovating, developing, testing, and flying hardware for use in NASA's future missions. These competitively-awarded projects are creating new technological solutions for NASA and our nation's future.
For a complete list of the selected proposals and more information about the NIAC, visit the NIAC Web site.