Author Topic: NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts invests in 22 Visionary Exploration Concept  (Read 2390 times)

Offline Eric Hedman

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Online Elmar Moelzer

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Indeed some cool concepts among those!
Wonder how the Gradient Field Imploding Liner Fusion Propulsion System by Marshall differs from MSNW's Fusion Driven Rocket, previously awarded with NIAC funding...
Also great to see Heidi Fearn and SSI get funding for looking at the Mach Effect.

Online Asteroza

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Offline Rei

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I'm unsurprisingly thrilled about the Venus balloon with ISRU water and oxygen production  ;)

Also with the microwave sintering aerobrakes for asteroid return, as that's a concept that I've been promoting for quite a while.  I can't find a specific paper on the subject, but my thought has always been that regolith could be sintered into aeroshell shapes, and thus be its own return/entry vehicle. Even large natural meteors sometimes survive intact without losing a large portion of their mass (Hoba, for example) - let alone perfectly shaped, perfect trajectory rocks.  They have iron in them, so there's the potential for magnetic acceleration (quench gun, etc) to put them on an Earth intercept trajectory.  So sinter, launch, aerocapture, then direct onto a specific entry trajectory with a reusable tug.

Lots of low TRL tech, but there's real potential in the long term. 
« Last Edit: 04/08/2017 09:34 PM by Rei »

Offline Star One

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This is the one that caught my eye.

Fusion-Enabled Pluto Orbiter and Lander

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/fusion-enabled-pluto-orbiter-and-lander

Online Robotbeat

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I liked the non-physics-breaking interstellar propulsion concept. Better than lasers alone (scalable to much greater payloads), though still not as good as my idea.

I also like the Phobos tether concept. We have a thread (heh!) on here about that concept far before this NIAC proposal was made. I wonder if it actually helped inspire the proposal.
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Online Elmar Moelzer

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This is the one that caught my eye.

Fusion-Enabled Pluto Orbiter and Lander

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/fusion-enabled-pluto-orbiter-and-lander
I saw with delight that there were 3 fusion related concepts funded this time. They all look quite interesting.
Marshall's proposal reminded me a bit of the Fusion Driven Rocket by MSNW. I am not quite sure why Marshall thinks their concept would work better.
Also glad to see SSI and the Mach Effect finally getting some funding from NASA.

Offline as58

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Quite a mixed bag of accepted proposals. Some seem doable in fairly near term, some have a lot of development to do and some require new physics.

Offline Star One

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Quite a mixed bag of accepted proposals. Some seem doable in fairly near term, some have a lot of development to do and some require new physics.

Surely that's the entire point of this though to fund challenging proposals.

Offline as58

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Quite a mixed bag of accepted proposals. Some seem doable in fairly near term, some have a lot of development to do and some require new physics.

Surely that's the entire point of this though to fund challenging proposals.

Sure, though IMO some of the proposals are so far from current state of science and technology that the studies are at risk of becoming mostly scifi.

Offline Star One

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Quite a mixed bag of accepted proposals. Some seem doable in fairly near term, some have a lot of development to do and some require new physics.

Surely that's the entire point of this though to fund challenging proposals.

Sure, though IMO some of the proposals are so far from current state of science and technology that the studies are at risk of becoming mostly scifi.

I don't think everyone would agree with that statement and that's the beauty of this if it helps check the validity of some proposals.

Offline john smith 19

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Surely that's the entire point of this though to fund challenging proposals.
True.

BTW AIUI all of these proposals have been through some sort of peer review process first. So to get here they've had to be solid enough to survive that process, and I'll be quite a few didn't.

NAIC is to move stuff from almost literally a back of the envelope up to somewhere NASA might consider it a technology they could consider putting in their next mission to wherever.

OT but I've been very impressed by the tenacity and persistence of the Kilopower team. IIRC fission was a $13Bn line item on the DRA 5 study to Mars but they are looking to do a full up live reactor demonstration (minus the radiators) by the end of 2017. 

They have also moved the future fission planning baseline from a monolithic 40Kw (the biggest single equipment package that would have to moved in the mission) to more granular 10Kw units that could each be started with a few (space rated) D cells.

As a side effect the more complex (but easier fueled) reactor is estimated to cut power system costs 60% over an RTG and open up options for Ion thruster drive to the outer planets.

NAIC is an exciting programme, in the same way that DARPA's AI work has been. Basically one successful AI application (more optimal load planning of goods on transport ships) has made savings equal to the entire 40+ years of DARPA's AI programmes (and will continue its users money).

If just one NAIC concept delivers that much benefit every penny will have been worth it.
« Last Edit: 04/09/2017 03:30 PM by john smith 19 »
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline Star One

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Surely that's the entire point of this though to fund challenging proposals.
True.

BTW AIUI all of these proposals have been through some sort of peer review process first. So to get here they've had to be solid enough to survive that process, and I'll be quite a few didn't.

NAIC is to move stuff from almost literally a back of the envelope up to somewhere NASA might consider it a technology they could consider putting in their next mission to wherever.

OT but I've been very impressed by the tenacity and persistence of the Kilopower team. IIRC fission was a $13Bn line item on the DRA 5 study to Mars but they are looking to do a full up live reactor demonstration (minus the radiators) by the end of 2017. 

They have also moved the future fission planning baseline from a monolithic 40Kw (the biggest single equipment package that would have to moved in the mission) to more granular 10Kw units that could each be started with a few (space rated) D cells.

As a side effect the more complex (but easier fueled) reactor is estimated to cut power system costs 60% over an RTG and open up options for Ion thruster drive to the outer planets.

NAIC is an exciting programme, in the same way that DARPA's AI work has been. Basically one successful AI application (more optimal load planning of goods on transport ships) has made savings equal to the entire 40+ years of DARPA's AI programmes (and will continue its users money).

If just one NAIC concept delivers that much benefit every penny will have been worth it.

I imagine it was the Mach Effect proposal that was setting off the posters alarm bells.

Offline john smith 19

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I'm unsurprisingly thrilled about the Venus balloon with ISRU water and oxygen production  ;)
You might also look further at the "Automaton Rover For Extreme Environments."

https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/niac/2017_Phase_I_Phase_II/Automaton_Rover_Extreme_Environments

The "Extreme Environment" exemplar they have in mind is the surface of Venus.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline john smith 19

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I imagine it was the Mach Effect proposal that was setting off the posters alarm bells.
Quite possibly. it probably makes more people uncomfortable than most of the concepts they've funded. But several labs have worked on this. They have reputations for rigor and the results have been reproduced by researchers who have little or no direct contact with each other.

The fact remains it did go through a selection process. NAIC don't just pick slips of paper out of a hat. 
« Last Edit: 04/09/2017 05:06 PM by john smith 19 »
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Tags: NAIC