Noah J Nelson on Thursday, Sep. 5th
Once in a while we talk about, in vague terms, the research that's being done in government labs on high-tech projects. The really out-there stuff.
What we don't do is get into the details. Last month NASA announced their 2013 Innovative Advanced Concepts awards. Projects awarded grants "selected based on the potential of their concepts to transform future aerospace missions, enable new capabilities, or significantly alter and improve current approaches."
With names like "Torpor Inducing Transfer Habitat For Human Stasis To Mars" and "Propellant-less Spacecraft Formation-Flying and Maneuvering with Photonic Laser Thrusters," these are the stuff that astronaut's dreams are made of.
Thank science fiction writer Bruce Sterling for bringing this to our collective attention. His "Beyond the Beyond" blog at Wired is one of my favorite places to find "gee-whiz" posts. The author's personal favorite project is the one that hopes to 3D print biomaterials out of thin air.
There are two tiers of awards. The Phase I studies get Around $100,000 for a year's worth of research, and Phase II studies "will receive approximately $500,000 for two years".
Via: Bruce Sterling's Beyond the Beyond blog at Wired