NASA just invested in 10 new visionary space technologies

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

NASA just invested in 10 new visionary space technologies
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.

Space debris cleanup

MSNW LLC

Crosscutting High Apogee Refueling Orbital Navigator (CHARON) for Active Debris Removal

Space debris is a serious problem that the public isn't aware of. All of that space junk floating around could disrupt our satellites, make space exploration harder and put our astronauts at risk. Thousands of tons of space debris has already accumulated in low Earth orbit. Currently, there are around 29,000 known objects larger than 10 cm.

The landmark research in 1979 by Donald J. Kessler and the NASA Orbital Debris Program office predicted something they called the "Kessler Syndrome." Which showed that if space debris collisions increased, there would be an exponential growth in debris that would make space access impossible in just a few generations.

The Crosscutting High Apogee Refueling Orbital Navigator (CHARON) led by John Slough seeks to remedy this potential catastrophe. By engaging in something called Active Debris Removal (ADR), the spacecraft would fling the largest objects of space debris into decaying orbits. CHARON would be used on an orbital vehicle that could fuel itself in air and work for 10 years at a time.

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