NASA has confirmed that seven studies are to receive additional funding as part of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program, with US$5 million in total grant money allocated.
Of the recipients, a concept for a space-based neutrino-detection mission will receive $2 million to advance their equipment. The grant forms part of a Phase III NIAC study.
Jason Derleth, NIAC program executive, noted, “Neutrinos are a tool to ‘see’ inside stars, and a space-based detector could offer a new window into the structure of our sun and even our galaxy.
“A detector orbiting close to the sun could reveal the shape and size of the solar furnace at the core. Or, by going in the opposite direction, this technology could detect neutrinos from stars at the center of our galaxy.”
The six other recipients will receive $500,000 to support their research for Phase II NIAC research.
These include Jeffrey Balcerski from the Ohio Aerospace Institute to study a “spacecraft ‘swarm’ approach” to research the atmosphere on Venus.
Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will further their study on the concept of a radio telescope on the far side of the moon.
Kerry Nock of the Global Aerospace Corporation expects to research techniques of landing on Pluto, among other bodies.
Assistant professor Artur Davoyan of UCLA will continue research solar sails for CubeSats while undertaking exploration missions in space.
Lynn Rothschild of NASA’s Ames Research Center will explore additional research on the growth of fungi in space.
Finally, Peter Gural of the Trans Astronautica Corporation will seek to improve the small asteroid detection methodologies.
The announcement comes following 16 NIAC I grants.
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