NASA just invested in 10 new visionary space technologies

Revolutionary space technology that'll take us into the future.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash
  • NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program invests in new space technology concepts every year.
  • This year's technologies range from smart space suits to Venus aircraft.
  • These concepts will be put to the test to see if they are viable.

Nuclear propulsion and lunar mining conjure up wild visions of a new space age. Our best minds are currently working on making these speculative space inventions a reality. Those are just two of the technologies that NASA has selected to research and invest in as part of their NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program for 2019.

The program is funding a total of 18 studies of which they'll determine the feasibility of early-stage technologies that could contribute greatly to the advancement of space exploration.

From space debris cleanup to interstellar fly-bys, the technologies have the potential to usher in great innovative feats in outer space.

Here is a selection of 10 of the most exciting new NASA space tech investments.

SmartSuit

Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station

SmartSuit: A Hybrid, Intelligent, and Highly Mobile EVA Spacesuit for Next Generation Exploration Missions

The SmartSuit, is a new design of a space suit meant to be worn by astronauts on the surface of other planets, particularly Mars. Led by Ana Diaz Artiles at Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, the novel spacesuit could revolutionize future human exploration missions. The suit's soft and stretchy membrane is filled with sensors which can study the wearer's surroundings on the fly. The data would be displayed visually in some kind of heads up display (HUD).

SmartSuit's soft skin is meant for comfort and to reduce injuries from too bulky of clothing. It would also be able to heal itself if damaged. The proposed suit would be gas-pressurized and incorporate soft-robotics throughout. The inventor's design philosophy is one of enhancing motion and dexterity, with the sensor integration to augment the wearer's interaction with their surroundings.

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