Self-healing Spacesuits Among NASA’s Newest Projectsadmin
In an announcement Wednesday, NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program revealed 18 new projects that have been awarded a total of $4.5 million in funding for Phase I and Phase II development rounds, IFLScience.com reported. Among these projects are self-healing spacesuits, spider-inspired micro-probes, and a Venus lander equipped with a floating charger.
“NIAC is about going to the edge of science fiction, but not over,” NIAC program executive Jason Derleth said in a statement. “We are supporting high impact technology concepts that could change how we explore within the Solar System and beyond.”
In total, 12 projects were chosen for Phase I, including Ana Diaz Artiles’ SmartSuit, which incorporates soft-robotics technology as well as “a soft and stretchable self-healing skin…that not only protects the astronaut but also collects data through integrated, transparent sensors embedded in the membrane”, and Robert Staehle’s SmallSats, which proposes a new architecture that will allow satellites to explore our outer Solar System (OSS).
The six projects awarded Phase II funding included Doug Willard’s Solar Surfing materials-science study to determine the best protective materials to enable missions closer to the sun and Chris Limbach’s research focused on advancing self-guided beamed propulsion technology.
For the first time this summer, NIAC will select one Phase III research study, which will be awarded up to $2 million for as long as two years.