By Mary O’KEEFE
Four Jet Propulsion Laboratory proposals have been awarded with NASA $100,000 grants.
NASA officials announced that 30 innovative projects will be awarded $100,000 each for one year of research as part of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC).
This is a small portion of the administration budget, but is an appropriate investment by NASA, said Bobby Braun, NASA chief technologist, NASA headquarters.
“It is critical for an agency like NASA to stay on the cutting edge,” Braun said.
NIAC is similar to other programs used by NASA in the past that would invite the community of scientists and engineers to propose ideas that would help advance space exploration.
“I am so thrilled that NIAC is back as a mechanism [for the scientists] to propose somewhat out-of-the-box ideas,” said Joe Parrish, director, Early Stage Innovation division, Office of the Chief Technologist.
There will be two phases of the NIAC process. The first will allot the funds for researchers to begin their yearlong study. The next phase will award $500,000 to the project researchers to continue and advance their effort.
“We chose [the proposals] on a competitive basis,” Parrish added.
The projects include creative ideas concerning changing the course of dangerous orbital debris, a spacesuit that uses flywheels to stabilize and assist astronauts as they work in microgravity and the use of 3-D printing to create a planetary outpost.
NIAC received hundreds of idea proposals from which a peer review board dwindled down to 30.
Projects that were awarded by NIAC are:
Spacecraft/Rover Hybrids for the Exploration of Small Solar System Bodies with Principal Investigator Marco Pavone; Printable Spacecraft with Principal Investigator Kendra Short; Interplanetary CubeSats: Opening the Solar with Principal Investigator Robert Staehle; Ghost Imaging of Space Objects with Principal Investigator Dmitry Strekalov.