back to article NASA flashes cash at advanced aerospace concepts

NASA has announced the eight projects with "the potential to transform future aerospace missions" which will receive funding under Phase II of its NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program. The awards of up to $500,000 over two years will allow the recipients to advance their ideas, which "successfully demonstrated …

  1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    "Torpor Inducing Transfer Habitats..."

    Ooh ... hibernation chambers ...

    Pack the pulse rifles, Alien here we come!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Torpor Inducing Transfer Habitats..."

      Nah. Just a large stash of Eurovision DVDs.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Torpor Inducing Transfer Habitats..."

      ..initiate validation studies with leading medical researchers to understand the effects of prolonged hypothermia...

      So not 'hibernation,' but 'hypothermia,' apparently. Lovely.

      1. DropBear

        Re: "Torpor Inducing Transfer Habitats..."

        "So not 'hibernation,' but 'hypothermia,' apparently. Lovely."

        Yes. We need you chilled but conscious so you can feel the cold all throughout the voyage (but much more importantly, so when aliens or future humans board the craft and lean close to your frosty not-quite-cryo-chamber you can scare the hell out of everyone by moving a bit)...

  2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    but they had such a great backronym!

    "Sadly for fans of tremendously cool if somewhat improbable space tech, California's Made In Space didn't make the Phase II cut with its 'Reconstituting Asteroids into Mechanical Automata' proposal, "

    then linking up with the project later would have truly been a Rendezvous with RAMA...

    1. John 104

      Re: but they had such a great backronym!

      Dating ourselves here I think...

      I'm re-reading Ringworld. Haven't read it in probably 20 years! Still just as good as when I first turned a page. And it got me thinking about the RAMA series. Might just have to pick up a copy of that series, after I read Ringworld Engineers of course. :)

    2. lawndart

      Re: but they had such a great backronym!

      Doesn't sound like enough cash to build three of them.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: but they had such a great backronym!

        Just stop at the first Rama (and the second Ringworld, i.e. the "Ringworld Engineers")

        Then grab "Schismatrix".

        Or maybe "Orbitsville".

        Or "Gateway" (but again, stop at the first of the "series")

  3. Beachrider

    NASA and its 'Basic Research'..

    This kind of stuff is why NASA was invented. It is about driving basic research when private industry wouldn't do it, themselves. It is terrific that SpaceX brings such an entrepreneurial approach that causes more of this work to enter the commercial sphere FASTER than in recent history.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As for Terraforming....

    why can't they practice here on Earth and turn the Gobi into a lush paradise?...why Mars?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: As for Terraforming....

      Only after we turn the whole of the Middle East into a non-lush non-paradise patrolled by killbots...

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: As for Terraforming....

      From an engineering standpoint I'd much rather do Venus. It's much easier to take stuff away if not convert it to something useful. For starters, seed the upper atmosphere with the stuff that likes living in volcanic fumaroles. Add to the brew as you come along.

      I wonder how much trouble you get into doing such as a private citizen?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cryogenics-proof of concept (No$Required)

    To see if the technique really works, can't they just defrost Walt Disneys head....if he blinks then they're on to a winner.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Cryogenics-proof of concept (No$Required)

      Yeah. Copyright will immediately be extended to "150 years after the last blink".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cryogenics-proof of concept (No$Required)

        Mickey Rat will become public domain the same day the we get cheap fusion power.

  6. TVU Silver badge

    Re: "Torpor Inducing Transfer Habitats..."

    *sigh* That is completely the wrong way to go about things. What's really needed is faster and more effect propulsion systems, e.g. VASIMR and NERVA, to get humans to Mars in a couple of months and not the best part of a year.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: "Torpor Inducing Transfer Habitats..."

      Anyone who starts a post or comment with 'sigh' get ignored for the rest of their life.

      It's SAD and INSULTING to people who know a LOT more than you about the subject.

      Try reading up on the subjects prior to posting. VASIMR and NERVA are decades away, and even if built (and then perfected), are still not good enough for humans to outer planet trips, so this Torpor tech will still be needed.

  7. ops4096

    Tensegrity "shield"

    Given the apparent ubiquity of tensegrity structures in nature I have long wondered whether passing an A.C. current through an appropriately tuned/dimensioned mesh might produce an electromagnetic field capable of economically and effectively shielding spacecraft from ionized particles.

    1. cray74

      Re: Tensegrity "shield"

      electromagnetic field capable of economically and effectively shielding spacecraft from ionized particles.

      If you get the shield to 10^9 volts in an economical fashion, yes. See page 7. It appears that (for 1961 state-of-the-art niobium-tin superconductors) magnetic shielding would likewise be quite heavy, in the vicinity of 10^6 kilograms of shielding to enclose a 1000 cubic meter volume (i.e., akin to the ISS). See page 29 ibid.

      1. ops4096

        Re: Tensegrity "shield"

        Thank you cray74 for your response but the referenced approach appears quite different. A tensegrity mesh as hypothesised would generate and contain the desired electromagnetic field within it's volume. Perhaps one could arrange an outer mesh to extract work and generate power from the passage of charged particles through it's volume while an inner mesh could then block the consequently less energetic charged particles.

  8. MrT

    The cunning "Magnetoshell" plan...

    ... one small step from "Activate Magnetoshell" > "Charge the hull plating!" > "Shields up!"

    Make it so. Because in the heat of the moment, having to call out "Captain, the Magnetoshell is depleted to 30%" is a bit of a mouthful.

    1. DropBear

      Re: The cunning "Magnetoshell" plan...

      "Captain, people constantly recharging their tablets after playing too much Angry Birds flattened our battery completely! We have no shield! Aaaaaaaa we're all gonna dieeeeeeee....!!!"

  9. Kharkov

    I like the Novel Atmospheric Satellite Concept

    Long duration, presumably low-cost high-altitude flight over a region to provide "...surveillance capabilities (e.g., NASA’s earth science missions) and communications bandwidth and availability (e.g., for underserved remote areas of the US, emergency communications), at a fraction of the cost of orbital satellite networks."

    I think that will be a winner, at first here on Earth, and then later elsewhere in the solar system. A Mars Eye-In-The-Sky, anyone? A Venus (very) High-Altitude long-duration radar mapper?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like