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Limitless Space Institute announces 2nd biennial LSI Grants awards

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
Limitless Space Institute
September 9, 2022
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Limitless Space Institute announces 2nd biennial LSI Grants awards
Limitless Space Institute
Limitless Space Institute

Limitless Space Institute is a non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire and educate the next generation to travel beyond our solar system and to research and develop enabling technologies. To that end, the single most important performance metric to enable bold human exploration of the outer solar system and the stars is the ability to GO INCREDIBLY FAST to any destination. This requires significant advances in performance characteristics of spacecraft power and propulsion systems. To support this bold objective, the Limitless Space Institute (LSI) initiated LSI Grants to support the critical R&D of advanced power and propulsion approaches.

LSI has completed the proposal review process for this second biennial grant cycle and is selecting 9 proposals for this second class of LSI Grants. These funded proposals will focus on topics such as beamed energy propulsion, solar sails, fusion propulsion, spacedrives, fundamental physics research, and traversable wormholes. These awards are categorized as tactical grants (≤$100k), strategic grants (≤$250k), fellowships (≤$180k), or seedlings (≤$50k). The selections are listed here with possible mission applications identified:

Direct Fusion Drive Based on Centrifugal Mirror Confinement (FELLOWSHIP) :
Advance research on direct fusion drive based on centrifugal mirror confinement (DFD-CM) with goal of attaining system TRL 3| University of Maryland

Real Acceleration and Impulse Limits of Light-Sails (FELLOWSHIP) :
Design/optimize photonic crystal light-sails with nanotechnology and machine learning algorithms, establish min acceleration distance possible|Delft University of Technology

Asymmetric Potential Vacuum Fluctuation Force Experiments (STRATEGIC) :
Experimental validation of forces predicted from interaction vacuum fluctuations and asymmetric potentials in Resonant Tunneling Diodes (RTDs)|UnLab, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, University of California, Los Angeles

The Path Forward: Directed Energy Phased Array (DEPA) Technology (STRATEGIC) :
Construct meter-class phased array, lunar beacon, and conduct outdoor testing to 100 m; continue system scaling analysis necessary to reach 1 million elements|University of California, Santa Barbara

Dynamic vacuum models of the electron (FELLOWSHIP) :
Utilizing insights from HQFT and DVM, develop dynamic vacuum “fluid analogues” for Lorentz force and Coulomb force (fill in gaps between QM and GRT)|Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Traversable Wormholes and Warp Drive: A Road To Interstellar Exploration (FELLOWSHIP) :
Identify Casimir configurations combined with superconductor plates, metamaterials, and/or graphene with objective of realizing wormhole with viable plate separation and throat diameter. | University of Bergamo

The Casimir Torque Thruster (SEEDLING) :
Explore potential for generating thrust pushing off of the quantum vacuum by means of the dynamic Casimir phenomenon | University of California, Davis

Extremely Light-Weight Solar Sails for Fast Deep Space Missions (SEEDLING) :
Investigate viability of fabricating µm thick aerographite sheets; determine load capability; integrate into feasible sail-craft |University of Luxembourg

Navigating the atmosphere: Transferring terrestrial beamed energy to light-sail spacecraft (SEEDLING) :
Experimentally demonstrate cooperative architecture for the measurement and correction of atmospheric effects on large-scale optical phased arrays|Australian National University

Collaborations: The Breakthrough Initiatives organization has graciously agreed to cover the travel costs for PI participation, venue arrangement, and live webcasts for in-person symposium meetings. Additionally, Texas A&M University Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) has graciously agreed to serve in the role of contract administration and enforcement for the grants and will serve as the funding conduit through which LSI will administer the grant funds. LSI expresses its deep gratitude to Breakthrough Initiatives and TEES for leaning in with LSI to help conduct the LSI Grants effort.

It is LSI’s vision that by establishing the LSI Grants program, and by conducting these grant awards on a biennial cycle, LSI will help grow and mature the capabilities of the interstellar research community making measured progress towards the goal of one day enabling interstellar flight.


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