24/7 Space News
Exploring Venus and Beyond: NASA Funds Innovative Space Concepts for 2024
The 2024 NIAC Phase I awards represent a significant investment in the future of space exploration and technology. The selected projects, though still in their conceptual stages, hold the potential to yield groundbreaking advancements for NASA and its partners worldwide.
Exploring Venus and Beyond: NASA Funds Innovative Space Concepts for 2024
by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Jan 08, 2024

NASA has officially announced the selection of 13 innovative concepts for its 2024 Phase I awards under the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. This program is renowned for funding early-stage technology concept studies that hold the potential to radically transform future agency missions, as well as offering possibilities for commercialization. The awardees, hailing from diverse companies and institutions across the United States, present a vibrant array of proposals ranging from low Earth orbit explorations to ventures reaching the stars.

Each of the 2024 NIAC Phase I awardees will receive a maximum of $175,000 in grants. This funding is intended to evaluate technologies that may play a crucial role in the space missions of tomorrow. NASA Associate Administrator Jim Free emphasized the significance of the NIAC program, stating, "The daring missions NASA undertakes for the benefit of humanity all begin as just an idea, and NIAC is responsible for inspiring many of those ideas." He further highlighted the successful lineage of past NIAC projects, such as the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars and instruments on the MarCO deep space CubeSats, illustrating the program's track record in turning creative concepts into mission successes.

Among the standout proposals in this year's selection is the concept by Ge-Cheng Zha from Coflow Jet LLC in Florida. Zha proposed the development of "MAGGIE," a novel fixed-wing, electric vertical takeoff, and landing craft destined for Mars. If successful, MAGGIE could significantly enhance our capability to explore and conduct scientific research on the Red Planet. Another intriguing proposal comes from Thomas Eubanks of Space Initiatives Inc., also in Florida. Eubanks envisions a swarm of tiny spacecraft journeying to Proxima Centauri within this century, utilizing a creative laser sailcraft and laser communications system to relay data about our Sun's nearest interstellar neighbor.

NASA's own Geoff Landis, based at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, offered a different yet equally novel proposal. He suggested a spacecraft designed to withstand the harsh environment of Venus and capable of returning a sample from its surface, leveraging advancements in high-temperature technology and solar aircraft.

Mike LaPointe, the NIAC program executive at NASA Headquarters, praised the diversity of the 2024 Phase I projects, noting their range from quantum sensors observing Earth's atmosphere to spacecraft communicating from the next star. LaPointe's statement underscores NASA's commitment to pushing the boundaries of what's possible in space exploration and technology.

The NIAC grants will enable the researchers, referred to as fellows, to delve into the fundamental premise of their concepts. They will map out necessary technology development, identify potential challenges, and seek opportunities to bring these innovative ideas to fruition.

The 2024 NIAC Phase I selection also includes a variety of other promising projects. These range from Steven Benner's proposal to augment large-scale water mining operations on Mars for life screening, to Lynn Rothschild's concept for detoxifying Mars by biocatalytically eliminating omnipresent perchlorates. Each project reflects the forward-thinking spirit that NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, responsible for funding the NIAC program, seeks to promote. This directorate is pivotal in developing new, cross-cutting technologies and capabilities to achieve NASA's current and future missions.

Related Links
NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
Insect compasses, fire-fighting vines: 2023's nature-inspired tech
Paris (AFP) Dec 23, 2023
Even as human-caused climate change threatens the environment, nature continues to inspire our technological advancement. "The solutions that are provided by nature have evolved for billions of years and tested repeatedly every day since the beginning of time," said Evripidis Gkanias, a University of Edinburgh researcher. Gkanias has a special interest in how nature can educate artificial intelligence. "Human creativity might be fascinating, but it cannot reach nature's robustness - and en ... read more

Exploring Venus and Beyond: NASA Funds Innovative Space Concepts for 2024

NASA Revamps Contracts with Blue Origin and Starlab for LEO Station Projects Post-ISS Era

Designing the 'perfect' meal to feed long-term space travelers

Insect compasses, fire-fighting vines: 2023's nature-inspired tech

ULA's Vulcan Centaur launches first American Moon lander in over 50 years

SpaceX sues to stop US hearing over fired workers

SpaceX set for Falcon Heavy USSF-52 mission to launch X-37B military space plane

SpaceX launches Starlink, Sarah-2 missions

Sols 4059-4061: New Year, Old Challenges

Sols 4056-4058 Blog: "Ringing" in a New Year

Recent volcanism on Mars reveals a planet more active than previously thought

Sussex research takes us a step closer to sustaining human life on Mars

Shenzhou XVII astronauts set for their first spacewalk

China's commercial space sector achieves milestones with series of successful launches

China's space programme: Five things to know

Long March rockets mark their 500th spaceflight

First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Direct-to-Cell Service Launched by SpaceX

Terran Orbital Reports Key Payment from Rivada and Strong Year-End Cash Position

AST SpaceMobile nears funding milestone for cellular broadband in space

Bayanat and Yahsat to Merge, Forming AI-Driven Space Technology Powerhouse, Space42

Amazon's game streaming platform Twitch cuts 500 jobs

The Future of fashion: Waste is the new cotton

Researchers 3D print components for a portable mass spectrometer

GESTRA space radar successfully enters final test phase

Hubble observes a changing exoplanet atmosphere

Is oxygen the cosmic key to alien technology?

A carbon-lite atmosphere could be a sign of water and life on other terrestrial planets

Scientists discover new way to identify liquid water on exoplanets

New images reveal what Neptune and Uranus really look like

Researchers reveal true colors of Neptune, Uranus

The PI's Perspective: The Long Game

Webb rings in the holidays with the ringed planet Uranus

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.