NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts: Awards $7 Million grants for new, continued studies

Topic: NASA

NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts has earned grant funding of $7 million. The NIAC program is taking high-risk, high-reward bets on innovative space exploration and observation concepts for all those unaware. NASA revealed the specifics of the grants this year and how they will be broken up for different programs.

 

by Niranjani Jesentha Kumari Prabagararaj

Updated: Apr 09, 2020 13:16 IST

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NIAC awards

The NIAC awards are divided into three levels: Phase I, II, and III, where $125,000 and nine months are allocated to demonstrate the new concept. Phase II is offering $500,000 and two years to show how the idea will actually work. Finally, the concept is receiving $2 million to develop the concept into a real project. The program has chosen 23 potentially innovative projects to invest in early-stage development innovations from NASA, industry, and academic researchers around the country.

"We are excited about the latest concepts and see how the work selected for subsequent Phase II, and III studies are progressing with additional time and money," said Walt Engelund, deputy associate administrator for programs Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) within NASA.

Looking into the details, one of the accepted missions is a concept that was selected for a Phase III study to image Earth-like planets outside the Solar system. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, Slava Turyshev Researcher, will now receive a $2 million grant to the concept and related technologies.

The "solar gravitational lens" is also another idea, which involves studying how light comes from distant exoplanets and is bent around our sun. The effect is the ability to create pictures of extremely distant and obscure objects in high resolution. Instead of just a single pixel in a neighboring star system showing us a world, we might have a very detailed image of almost a million pixels.

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