NIAC

energyContinuous Electrode Inertial Electrostatic Confinement Fusion

NASA recognizes within its roadmaps (specifically TA 3.1.6) that development of aneutronic fusion (such as p-11B) reactors with direct energy conversion (over 80%) would be an enabling technology to achieve low specific mass (kg / kW) through the elimination of …

asteroidsMicrowave-Sintered heat shields for low cost capture into earth orbit asteroids

The two fundamental prerequisites for large-scale economic use of space resources are: 1. in-space manufacture of propellants from nonterrestrial bodies, and 2. in-space manufacture of heat shields for low-cost capture of materials into Earth orbit. The former has been the …

nasaImploding Liner Fusion Propulsion System

NASA advanced innovative concepts has funded Michael LaPointe, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center to develop a fusion propulsion system. It is an innovative modification to magneto-inertial fusion is proposed in which the pulsed, high current magnetic field coil and stationary …

futureVacuum airship would work in thin atmosphere of Mars

Researchers propose to overcome some of the limitations of current technologies for Mars exploration and even extend current operational capabilities by introducing the concept of a vacuum airship. This concept is similar to a standard balloon, whereas a balloon uses …

energyFusion-Enabled Pluto Orbiter and Lander

The Direct Fusion Drive (DFD) concept provides game-changing propulsion and power capabilities that would revolutionize interplanetary travel. DFD is based on the Princeton Field-Reversed Configuration (PFRC) fusion reactor under development at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. The mission context we …

futureNASA NIAC second phase funding for thin film 4000 ISP Branecraft

This effort will further develop the active membrane spacecraft concept called “Brane Craft” initially studied in a NIAC Phase I grant. The Brane Craft is an essentially two-dimensional spacecraft with integrated solar cells, power system, communications, command and control, attitude …

energyNASA Concept to use 100 MW beamed power for ion drive that is 20 times better

John Brophy at NASA Jet propulsion laboratory combines a near term 100 megawatt laser beamed power system to enable an ion drive with 70 megawatts of power and 58000 ISP. They propose a new power/propulsion architecture to enable missions such …

futureNASA advanced innovations funds 22 new visionary space concepts

NASA is preparing for a future that could include soft robotic spacecraft with flexible surfaces that can anchor to an asteroid, and an artificial gravity device for long-duration, deep space missions, along with other technologies that so far has been …

futureQuantum Enhanced Machine Learning

New research provides a Rosetta Stone that translates the language of reinforcement learning to the quantum realm. It tackles sticky questions like what it means for a quantum agent to learn and how the history of a quantum agent’s interaction …

asteroidsFully Automated Unmanned Garages have arrived where the Whole Parking building is robotic and enables more cars to be parked in expensive city real estate

Self-driving cars have not fully arrived but fully automated parking garages have arrived. The 22 garages already are using automated systems to store and retrieve vehicles, and it’s starting to scale up. Ground is breaking soon on a parking structure …