NASA selects Indian-origin researcher for innovative concept

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NASA has selected 13 proposals, including one by an Indian-origin scientist, through the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC), a programme aimed at revolutionising future space missions to Mars and beyond.

Ratnakumar Bugga, from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California was selected for his proposal of Venus Interior Probe Using In-situ Power and Propulsion (VIP-INSPR).

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC)

NIAC Phase I awards are valued at about USD 100,000 for nine months, to support initial definition and analysis of their concepts.

If these basic feasibility studies are successful, awardees can apply for Phase II awards, valued up to USD 500,000 for two additional years of concept development.

The 2016 portfolio of Phase I concepts cover a wide range of innovations selected for their potential to revolutionise future aerospace missions. The 2016 NIAC Phase I competition was fierce, as usual. All of the final candidates were outstanding.

Other crucial proposals that have been selected by NASA  :

♦ Concept for reprogramming microorganisms that could use the Martian environment to recycle and print electronics.

♦ A two-dimensional spacecraft with ultra-thin subsystems that may wrap around space debris to enable de-orbiting.

♦ A method of computational imaging that leverages extrasolar intensity fluctuations to detect "echoes" from planets and other structures orbiting a distant star.

Comment : Such talent hunt programmes hold the promise of accelerating NASAs progress toward its goals of exploration beyond low-Earth orbit, missions to an asteroid and Mars, and other priority areas in all of NASAs mission directorates


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