The selected proposals include a wide range of imaginative concepts, including 3-D printing of biomaterials, such as arrays of cells; using galactic rays to map the insides of asteroids; and an "eternal flight" platform that could hover in Earth's atmosphere, potentially providing better imaging, Wi-Fi, power generation and other applications.
"NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts Program invites innovators everywhere -- industry, academia, NASA centers, other agencies -- to propose bold, visionary ideas," said Michael Gazarik, NASA's associate administrator for space technology in Washington. "We're working together to transform the future of aerospace while investigating new technologies that may one day benefit our new technology economy and our lives here on Earth."
NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate chose this year's Phase I proposals based on their potential to transform future aerospace missions by enabling either entirely new missions or breakthroughs in future aerospace capabilities, accelerating progress toward NASA's goals.
NIAC Phase I awards are about $100,000 to conduct nine-month initial definition and analysis studies of a concept. If the basic feasibility studies are successful, proposers can apply for Phase II funding of as much as $500,000 for two more years of concept maturation.
"These new Phase I selections include potential breakthroughs for Earth and space science, diverse operations and the potential for new paths that expand human civilization and commerce into space," said NIAC Program Executive Jay Falker.
NASA solicits visionary, long-term concepts for technological maturation based on their potential value to the agency's future space missions and operational needs. The projects are chosen through a peer-review process that evaluates their innovative potential, technical approach, and benefits for study in a timely manner. All are very early in development and typically years from implementation. 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 in-space propulsion, human habitation, science instruments, materials for use in space, and exploring other diverse technology paths needed to meet NASA's strategic goals.
NIAC is part of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, 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 America's future.
The two JPL proposals are:
• Two-Dimensional Planetary Surface Landers -- Hamid Hemmati,, principal investigator
• Transformers for Extreme Environments -- Adrian Stoica, principal investigator http://www.nasa.gov/content/transformers-for-extreme-environments/#.UemCbeDOsX5
For a complete list of the selected proposals and more information about the NIAC, visit:http://www.nasa.gov/niac . For more information about NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/spacetech .
The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.
Media ContactJane Platt 818-354-0880
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
David E. Steitz 202-358-1730
NASA Headquarters, Washington