NASA and DARPA will Demo a Nuclear Thermal Rocket Engine in Space by 2027

NASA and DARPA will work together to develop and demonstrate a nuclear thermal rocket engine in space by 2027. The Demonstration Rocket is part of the Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) programme. DRACO’s proposed solid core nuclear thermal rocket temperatures could reach almost 5000 degrees fahrenheit, which will need new advanced materials. It will use high-assay …

Read more

DARPA Wireless Power Beaming

DARPA is creating wireless power beaming to create a dynamic, adaptive, speed of light wireless energy web. The goal of the Persistent Optical Wireless Energy Relay (POWER) program is to design and demonstrate airborne optical energy relays. These relays are a critical component necessary to allow ground-sourced lasers to be coupled with high-altitude, efficient long-range …

Read more

DARPA Offroad Self Driving Races

DARPA’s Robotic Autonomy in Complex Environments with Resiliency (RACER) program has had several off road races. Experiment 1 took place March-April 2022 on six courses of combat-relevant terrain. The teams did more than 40 autonomous runs of about 2 miles each and reached speeds just under 20 miles per hour. The biggest challenge the teams …

Read more

DARPA Vertical Takeoff and Landing X-Plane

DARPA’s AdvaNced airCraft Infrastructure-Less Launch And RecoverY X-Plane program, nicknamed ANCILLARY, aims to develop and flight demonstrate critical technologies required for a leap ahead in vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), low-weight, high-payload, and long-endurance capabilities. The goal is to build a plane that can launch from ship flight decks and small austere land locations in …

Read more

DARPA Studies Blockchain Vulnerabilities

DARPA engaged cybersecurity research and consulting firm Trail of Bits to examine the fundamental properties of blockchains and the cybersecurity risks associated with them. Trail of bits investigated the extent to which blockchains are truly decentralized. They focused primarily on the two most popular blockchains: Bitcoin and Ethereum. They also investigated proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchains and …

Read more

DARPA Robots Learn to Grasp Objects and Carry Loads Over Rough Terrain

Researchers with DARPA’s Machine Common Sense (MCS) program demonstrated a series of improvements to robotic system performance over multiple experiments. Just as infants must learn from experience, MCS seeks to construct computational models that mimic the core domains of child cognition for objects (intuitive physics), agents (intentional actors), and places (spatial navigation). Using only simulated …

Read more

DARPA Muon Scanner to Search for Tunnels or Monitor Volcanoes

The Defense Department and other federal agencies have sought advanced sources that generate gamma rays, X-rays, neutrons, protons, and electrons to enable a variety of scientific, commercial, and defense applications – from medical diagnostics, to scans of cargo containers for dangerous materials, to non-destructive testing of aircraft and their parts to see internal defects. But …

Read more

DARPA AI Contest to Assess Critical Minerals

DARPA has partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to explore the potential for machine learning and artificial intelligence tools and techniques to accelerate critical mineral assessments. The goal is to significantly speed up the assessment of the nation’s critical mineral resources by automating key steps in the process. Assessments can quantify potential mineral sources …

Read more

DARPA Wants to Create Portable Atomic Clocks

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are vital for the military for precision warfare but GPS can be jammed by military opponents. DARPA has announced the Robust Optical Clock Network (ROCkN) program, which aims to create optical atomic clocks with low size, weight, and power (SWaP) that yield timing accuracy and holdover better than GPS atomic clocks …

Read more

DARPA Unmanned Cars Will Have Offroad Race

The DARPA RACER program’s goal is to develop and demonstrate autonomy technologies that enable unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) to maneuver in unstructured off-road terrain at the limit of the vehicle’s mechanical systems and at, or beyond, human-driven speeds and efficiencies. “RACER is intended to disruptively advance the integration and fielding of autonomy for robotic combat …

Read more