NASA Seeks Public’s Designs to Throw Shade in Space

Star shade (Credit: NASA)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — Searching the universe for Earth-like planets is like looking for a needle in a haystack. To further this exploration, NASA is supporting the early-stage study of a concept for a hybrid observatory that would combine a ground-based telescope with a space-based starshade. These devices block glare from stars when observing planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets, from the ground. The Hybrid Observatory for Earth-like Exoplanets (HOEE) would convert the largest ground telescopes into the most powerful planet finders ever made – and the public has an opportunity to be part of this groundbreaking endeavor.

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RIT Faculty and Alumni Receive NASA Funding to Develop New Diffractive Solar Sail Concepts

Alumna Amber Dubill receives phase III award from NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program

Diffractive solar sails, depicted in this conceptual illustration, could enable missions to hard-to-reach places, like orbits over the Sun’s poles. (Image Credit: MacKenzi Martin)

ROCHESTER, NY (Rochester Institute of Technology PR) –NASA announced new funding for a project led by Rochester Institute of Technology alumni, faculty, and students that could power spacecraft to orbit the sun’s poles for the first time. The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program will provide Phase III funding to the Diffractive Solar Sailing project led by Amber Dubill ’20 (mechanical engineering), ’20 MS (mechanical engineering) of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.‌

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Swarm of Tiny Swimming Robots Could Look for Life on Distant Worlds

In the Sensing With Independent Micro-Swimmers (SWIM) concept, illustrated here, dozens of small robots would descend through the icy shell of a distant moon via a cryobot – depicted at left – to the ocean below. The project has received funding from the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A concept in development at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory would allow potential planetary missions to chase interesting clues in subsurface oceans.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Someday, a swarm of cellphone-size robots could whisk through the water beneath the miles-thick icy shell of Jupiter’s moon Europa or Saturn’s moon Enceladus, looking for signs of alien life. Packed inside a narrow ice-melting probe that would tunnel through the frozen crust, the tiny robots would be released underwater, swimming far from their mothercraft to take the measure of a new world.

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NASA Administrator Announces Next NAC Meeting, New Members

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced Wednesday the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) will convene its next meeting on August 9-10. Nelson also appointed new members to the NAC, who will provide leadership counsel and advice on agency programs and priorities.

“NASA remains a global leader in exploration as a result of having a world-class workforce and the NASA Advisory Council is no different,” said Nelson. “I am incredibly proud of the accomplishments and progress we’ve made to date, and these new additions to the NAC will bring new ideas and solutions to complex problems we face. We are in the midst of another banner year at the agency, and I look forward to hearing from and working with an exceptional NAC.”

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NASA-Supported Solar Sail Could Take Science to New Heights

Diffractive solar sails, depicted in this conceptual illustration, could enable missions to hard-to-reach places, like orbits over the Sun’s poles. (Image Credit: MacKenzi Martin)

WASHINGTON (NASA HQ PR) — As NASA’s exploration continues to push boundaries, a new solar sail concept selected by the agency for development toward a demonstration mission could carry science to new destinations.

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NASA Funds Research to Use Smallsats to Improve Storm Predictions

Graphic depiction of Starburst: A Revolutionary Under-Constrained Adaptable Deployable Structure Architecture. (Credits: Jonathan Sauder)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA is funding research into the development of a constellation of small satellites (smallsats) capable of measuring a storm from start to finish in order to improve weather forecasting.

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NASA Funds Research into Using the Solar Oberth Maneuver to Explore Deep Space

Graphic depiction of Combined Heat Shield and Solar Thermal Propulsion System for an Oberth Maneuver. (Credits: Jason Benkoski)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA is funding research into advanced technology that would allow spacecraft to combine its propulsion system and the sun’s gravity to reach the distant Kuiper Belt or interstellar space in far less time than is possible today.

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NASA Funds Research into Destroying Incoming Asteroid on Short Notice

Graphic depiction of PI – Terminal Defense for Humanity. (Credits: Philip Lubin)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA is funding research into hypervelocity kinetic penetrators that would allow for the destruction of an incoming asteroid on very short notice.

The space agency awarded a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Phase I grant worth $175,000 to Philip Lubin of the University of California, Santa Barbara for his “Pi — Terminal Defense for Humanity project.

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NASA Funds Research into Satellite Swarm to Study Space Weather Effects in LEO

Graphic depiction of In-situ Neutral-Optics Velocity Analyzer for Thermospheric Exploration (INOVATE). (Credits: Marcin Pilinski)j

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA is funding research into a swarm of satellites that would enable scientists to measure the impacts of space weather in low-Earth orbit.

The space agency awarded a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Phase 1 grant worth $175,000 to Marcin Pilinski of University of Colorado Boulder for the In-situ Neutral-Optics Velocity Analyzer for Thermospheric Exploration (INOVATE) project.

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Silent, Solid-State Propulsion for Advanced Air Mobility Vehicles

Graphic depiction of Silent, Solid-State Propulsion for Advanced Air Mobility Vehicles. (Credits: Steven Barrett)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA is funding research into how to reduce noise levels produced by the next generation of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) air mobility vehicles.

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NASA Funds Research into Advanced Oxygen Generation on Mars

Graphic depiction of Breathing Mars Air: Stationary and Portable O2 Generation. (Credits: Ivan Ermanoski)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA is funding research into a system capable of generating oxygen on Mars far more efficiently than the one the space agency tested aboard the Curiosity rover.

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