NASA, GE and other companies are developing electric aircraft, which could start replacing commercial jets by 2035.
NASA is investigating cutting-edge material science to create lighter and smaller electronics. To this end, they recently signed a $12 million contract with General Electric (GE), one of the world leaders in the development of cutting-edge silicon carbide (SiC) technology.
Semiconducting mineral is used in the fabrication of high-temperature, high-voltage electronics, and GE is hoping to use it to meet the size, power, and efficiency requirements specified by NASA. These specifications call for an inverter that is no larger than a suitcase and capable of generating a megawatt (MWs) of electricity.
NASA’s Single-aisle Turboelectric Aircraft with an Aft Boundary-Layer (STARC-ABL) uses advanced propulsion technologies. It needs 2.4 MW of power to operate.
In 2017, the MOJO Micro-robot was one of the chosen technologies in the Tech Flights program. It was designed to traverse 3D structures like space habitats built in space. The MOJO Micro-robot was developed by MIT for construction and inspection of structures. Image Credit: MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms