NASA has allocated funds to develop innovative projects that are more like ideas from science fiction films.
Through the Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program, the agency has funded several unusual technical solutions for space exploration and exploration. One of them is the inflatable BREEZE probe for studying planets with extreme atmospheres. It must hover above the planet’s surface at a speed of 50 km / h, collecting data on weather conditions, atmospheric composition and volcanic activity..
A team from State University of New York at Buffalo plans to equip the probe with a mass spectrometer, nephelometer, high-resolution visible and near infrared cameras, a magnetometer, an anemometer, and sensors to measure atmospheric pressure, temperature and density. They will be powered by solar panels located on top of the inflatable structure..
NASA has financed five fantastic space exploration projects
Although the surface of Venus is not suitable for human habitation, scientists talk about the possibility high-altitude settlement.
Another project, proposed by the Colorado School of Mines, involves extracting ice from space objects using heat. Its essence lies in the fact that the system accumulates the energy of the sun’s rays and directs it into the wells through rods or heaters. The heat melts the ice and turns into steam, which is captured by traps on the outer dome, and then re-frozen for further processing.
In space, water is a very valuable resource because, in addition to its obvious uses, it can be used to create rocket fuel by splitting molecules into hydrogen and oxygen atoms..
NASA is also funding the development of Texas A&M Engineering spacesuit for open operations on the surface of Mars and other planets. In addition to the fact that he will have to increase the performance of a person, the suit has a self-healing outer coating. Its electronic elastic membrane system captures and transmits information to the user about damage to integrity, the threat of their occurrence and other problems with the spacesuit.
Another supported idea belongs to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the US space agency itself. The project provides for the creation of transforming robots for exploring planets and satellites with a harsh landscape. Using a minimalist design made up of smaller robots, they will be able to change their configuration and be combined with other probes, adapting to the environmental conditions. It is assumed that they will be able to work not only on the surface, but also in the aquatic environment, as well as in the atmosphere..
Funding also received a project to develop a telescope for the discovery of dual-use exoplanets. DUET. Its design will allow for a better understanding of worlds outside our solar system by detecting planets like indirectly using radial velocity and astrometry methods, and directly using extended spectroscopy. DUET also will receive a holographic primary lens made of an annular thin membrane, which has four times the collection area and twice the diameter of the largest ground-based telescopes.
Recall that recently, researchers from NASA took the first step towards the development of a thermonuclear space engine..
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: NASA