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NASA Seeks Innovative Ideas for Revolutionary Concepts

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Sat Dec 17, 2005 4:46 pm
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The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts is seeking revolutionary ideas to advance the Vision for Space Exploration. Interested parties from outside the agency are invited to submit 2006 Phase 1 proposals by February 13, 2006.

The focus for solicitations is on revolutionary, advanced concepts for architectures and systems that meet NASA mission “grand visions.” The institute’s intention is to discover ideas that may result in beneficial changes to NASA’s long-range plans.

“The institute employs a team of experts in science and technology to review proposals. Successful proposals are highly imaginative but grounded in reality,” said Dr. Robert Cassanova of the Universities Space Research Association, the director of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts. The Universities Space Research Association runs the institute for NASA.

Previous winning proposals include systems or concepts for a spacecraft propelled by a magnetized beam of electrified gas for rapid interplanetary transportation; an electrostatic radiation shield for a lunar base; and the redesign of living organisms to survive on Mars.

The institute sponsors research in two phases. Proposals selected for Phase 1 awards typically receive as much as $75,000 for a six-month study that validates the viability of the concept and identifies challenges that must be overcome. Phase 1 studies are evaluated using major feasibility criteria associated with cost, performance, development time, and technology. The most promising are selected for further research, through a Phase 2 award. Phase 2 studies can be up to two years long and receive as much as $400,000.

Phase 1 awards will be announced in April or May 2006. The institute awards about one dozen Phase 1 study contracts per year. The institute encourages submission of proposals via the Internet. More information, including detailed submission instructions and a proposal package, is available on the Web at:
http://www.niac.usra.edu/files/call/06-01.pdf

Information about the institute, including reports on previously selected proposals, is available on the Web, at:
http://www.niac.usra.edu/

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/home

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