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NASA Unveils 2024 Innovative Studies for Future Tech Funding

NASA Unveils 2024 Innovative Studies for Future Tech Funding

NASA Unveils 2024 Innovative Studies for Future Tech Funding

NASA Unveils 2024 Innovative Studies for Future Tech Funding

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  • NASA funds Mars and Proxima Centauri projects in 2024 NIAC.
  • Concepts include Venus sample return and interstellar probes.
  • $175,000 NIAC grants drive innovative space ideas.
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NASA has announced the selection of the 2024 Phase I awardees for its groundbreaking NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. This initiative aims to fund and nurture visionary ideas that could revolutionize future space missions and benefit humanity as a whole.

The NIAC program allocates a maximum of $175,000 in grants to support early-stage technology concept studies with the potential for future consideration and commercialization. NASA Associate Administrator Jim Free emphasized the critical role of NIAC in inspiring ideas that form the foundation of daring missions undertaken by NASA for the betterment of humanity.

The 13 chosen concepts, stemming from companies and institutions across the United States, cover a diverse range of innovative projects. Among them is Ge-Cheng Zha’s proposal from Coflow Jet LLC in Florida, introducing “MAGGIE,” the first fixed-wing, electric vertical takeoff, and landing craft designed for exploration on Mars. Other ambitious projects include a swarm of tiny spacecraft traveling to Proxima Centauri, sample return missions from the surface of Venus, and a spacecraft designed to withstand Venus’ harsh environment.

The selected projects showcase the breadth of creativity within the NIAC community, from quantum sensors observing Earth’s atmosphere to coordinated spacecraft swarms communicating from distant stars. NASA’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible is evident in the diversity of the 2024 Phase I projects.

Using their NIAC grants, the researchers, referred to as fellows, will delve into the fundamental aspects of their concepts, chart the necessary technology development roadmap, identify potential challenges, and explore opportunities to bring their visionary ideas to fruition.

The 2024 Phase I awardees include proposals such as an add-on to large-scale water mining operations on Mars, a thin film isotope nuclear engine rocket, autonomous tritium micropowered sensors, and a lunar long-baseline optical imaging interferometer, among others.

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The NIAC program, funded by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, plays a crucial role in advancing the agency’s cross-cutting technologies and capabilities to achieve current and future space missions. As NASA unveils these innovative studies, the world eagerly awaits the potential breakthroughs that could shape the future of space exploration and technology.

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