WASHINGTON — The US space agency announced funding for 30 new space projects Monday, including ways to protect astronauts from deep-space radiation, eliminate space debris and improve spacesuit technology.
Each of the proposals will get $100,000 in funding for a one-year period as part of NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC), the agency said in a statement.
"These innovative concepts have the potential to mature into the transformative capabilities NASA needs to improve our current space mission operations, seeding the technology breakthroughs needed for the challenging space missions in NASA's future," said NASA chief technologist Bobby Braun.
Other projects on the list include using three-dimensional printing technology to create a planetary outpost, and various ways to fuel future exploration missions, including the use of solar and nuclear power.
NIAC, originally known as the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts, operated from 1998 to 2007 as an independent forum "to complement the advanced concepts activities conducted within NASA," the space agency said.
It was halted for review in 2008 and re-established for fiscal year 2011 "to investigate visionary, far-reaching advanced concepts as part of the agency's mission."