NASA Selects Futuristic Space Technology Concepts for Early Study

An astronaut steps into a body scanner and hours later, walks on Mars in a custom-made spacesuit, breathing oxygen that was extracted from Mars’ carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere. On Venus, an inflatable bird-like drone swoops through the sky, studying the planet’s atmosphere and weather patterns. Ideas like these are currently science fiction, but they could one day become reality, thanks to a new round of grants awarded by NASA.

The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program fosters exploration by funding early-stage studies to evaluate technologies that could support future aeronautics and space missions. A new slate of awards will provide a total of $5.1 million to 17 researchers from nine states.

Among the researchers selected to receive NIAC Phase I grants in 2022 are Elena D’Onghia, Associate Professor, Astronomy, UW–Madison: CREW HaT: Cosmic Radiation Extended Warding using the Halbach Torus.

Elena and her collaborator Paulo Desiati have participated in the Discovery to Product (D2P) cohort programs Innovation to Market and Igniter.

“It is a tremendous opportunity for us to have NASA back up our idea. We thank D2P and our mentor Aimee Arnoldusson for the support and encouragement you have given us.” — Elena D’Onghia

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