Press Release

NASA Explores Future Space with Advanced Concept Awards

By SpaceRef Editor
September 28, 2004
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NASA Explores Future Space with Advanced Concept Awards
NIAC Awards

The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) has
announced its 2004 Phase 1 awards. Twelve proposals to boldly
go beyond the frontiers of space exploration were selected
for a six-month study period beginning in October 2004.

The NIAC was created in 1998 to solicit revolutionary
concepts from people and organizations outside the agency
that could greatly advance NASA’s missions. The proposals
push the limits of known science and technology. The
proposals are expected to take at least a decade to be fully
realized. NIAC’s intention is to discover ideas that may
result in beneficial changes to NASA’s long-range plans.

“We are thrilled to team up with imaginative people from
industry and universities to discover innovative systems that
meet the tremendous challenge of space exploration and
development,” said Dr. Robert Cassanova of the Universities
Space Research Organization (USRA), and NIAC director. The
USRA runs the Institute for NASA.

The NIAC sponsors research in two phases. Proposals selected
for Phase 1 awards typically receive up to $75,000 for a six-
month study that validates the viability of the concept and
identifies challenges that must be overcome to make the
proposal a reality.

The results of the Phase 1 studies are evaluated. The most
promising are selected for further research into the major
feasibility issues associated with cost, performance,
development time, and technology through a Phase 2 award.
Phase 2 studies can be up to two years long and receive as
much as $400,000.

Proposals selected for the 2004 Phase 1 awards:

– A Deep-Field Infrared Observatory near the Lunar Pole
(Principal Investigator (PI): Dr. Roger J. Angel,
University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.)

– Extremely Large Swarm Array of Picosats for
Microwave/RF Earth Sensing, Radiometry, and Mapping
(PI: Ivan Bekey, Bekey Designs Inc., Annandale, Va.)

– Redesigning Living Organisms to Survive on Mars (PI:
Dr. Wendy F. Boss, North Carolina State University,
Raleigh, N.C.)

– Analysis of a Lunar Base Electrostatic Radiation Shield
Concept (PI: Dr. Charles R. Buhler, ASRC Aerospace
Corporation, Kennedy Space Center, Fla.)

– New Worlds Imager (PI: Dr. Webster Cash, University of
Colorado, Boulder, Colo.)

– Efficient Direct Conversion of Sunlight to Coherent
Light at High Average Power in Space (PI: Dr. Richard
Fork, University of Alabama, Huntsville, Ala.)

– Use of Superconducting Magnet Technology for Astronaut
Radiation Protection (PI: Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston)

– Wide-Bandwidth Deep-Space Quantum Communications (PI:
Ricky Morgan, Morgan Optics Corporation, San Diego)

– Lunar Space Elevators for Cislunar Space Development
(PI: Jerome Pearson, Star Technology and Research,
Inc., Mount Pleasant, S.C.)

– Large-Product General-Purpose Design and Manufacturing
Using Nanoscale Modules (PI: Chris Phoenix, Center for
Responsible Nanotechnology, Brooklyn, N.Y.)

– Magnetized Beamed Plasma Propulsion (PI: Dr. Robert M.
Winglee of the University of Washington, Seattle)

– A Self-Sustaining, Boundary-Layer-Adapted System for
Terrain Exploration and Environmental Sampling (PI: Dr.
Craig A. Woolsey, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and
State University, Blacksburg, Va.)

For information including abstracts of the selected proposals
on the Web, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.