From 1998, NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program is seeking the innovations from diverse and non-traditional concepts for space exploration. Different innovators and entrepreneurs from space industries participate in NAIC with entirely advanced new aerospace concepts.
However, NASA invested in those futuristic projects which are selected through that program. This year on 6th April, NASA chooses twenty-two proposals for investment under NAIC 2017 program.
Within this, fifteen new proposals got NAIC’s Phase-I funding of about $125,000 over nine months. While the remaining seven pre-selected in 2016’s phase-I projects are now re-invests for $500,000 over 2 years under Phase-II proposal.
Among all the selected Phase-I projects, one of the exciting proposals comes with the unconventional design of rocket propulsion system. This project titled as A Breakthrough Propulsion Architecture for Interstellar Precursor Missions. The concept is using a giant space-based laser to beam power to explore our solar system and beyond very fast.
According to NewScientist, one of the Phase-I proposal presents an innovative way to explore the planetary surface. This NAIC project titled as, Pluto Hop, Skip, and Jump. It gives an idea of a Lander that takes advantage of the low gravity on the surface of Pluto.
While conventional Landers like Mar’s curiosity explores the surface by driving on its wheel like a car. But it consumes more time while traveling one region to another. But in this new NAIC concept, Lander could travel by jumped or hopped from on region to another region. As the single jump in the lower gravity planet like Pluto may travel a longer distance, sometimes kilometers at a time.
Moreover, another NAIC phase-I proposed a robot like a floppy Frisbee that would stick to the surface of a nearby asteroid. However, this project helps to explore on an asteroid surface.
Though, all NAIC proposals don’t involve with human space exploration. However, project “Turbolift” hopes to help astronauts on long flights in space avoid the negative health effects of microgravity. In artificial gravity, rotation causes motion sickness to the astronauts. But Turbolift shakes them up and down such that they always feeling of gravitational acceleration at the same direction.
Now All of the projects funded by NAIC are still early in their development, maybe takes a long decade. However, in Phase-I the initial NAIC funding where researchers get an opportunity for further study about their concept.
Besides, they also analyze the feasibility of the concepts according to the law of physics or present technology. If they will, then those concepts are selected for NAIC Phase-II round sponsorship from NASA.