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NASA Awards Grants to 13 Innovative Concept Studies for 2024

Space and planet research

NASA Awards Grants to 13 Innovative Concept Studies for 2024

Thirteen research projects have been selected for the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts’ 2024 Phase I program, with the awardees’ focus ranging from planetary exploration to a star-bound journey of a swarm of communication spacecraft. 

The 2024 NIAC fellows are companies and institutions from across the United States, with each awardee receiving a $175,000 grant to probe technologies that could be useful in future space missions, NASA said Thursday

Five of the 13 awardees are focused on early-stage technology concept studies for Mars planetary exploration. A research project from Ge-Cheng Zha of Coflow Jet in Florida will look into flying the first fixed-wing, electric vertical takeoff and landing spacecraft on the Red Planet. 

Another Florida researcher, Steven Benner of the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, will study large-scale Mars water mining to probe for alien life forms.

Planetary exploration focused on Venus, on the other hand, is the goal of Geoff Landis, a NIAC fellow from NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Landis’ study proposes a high-temperature-resistant spacecraft capable of surviving the harsh Venus environment and returning a sample from the planet back to Earth.  

Meanwhile, Thomas Eubanks of Space Initiatives in Florida will research sending a fleet of laser-powered small spacecraft to Proxima Centauri, the star nearest Earth. 

NASA selected 14 projects for NIAC in 2023 and 17 in 2022

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Category: Space