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.

Solar exploration

NASA Kennedy Space Center

Solar Surfing

In 2018, the Parker Solar Probe launched to much acclaim. It got seven times closer to the sun than any mission has before. The fallout has been a surge of research on particle radiation and measurements on the magnetic field of the Sun's corona. The probe used a solar shield with a carbon composite layer on top of four inch carbon foam. Doug WIllard and his team at the NASA Kennedy Space Center are building out their solar surfing project to get even closer to the sun.

"Getting even closer to the Sun would grant further data to improve heliophysics models, while enabling study of the physics within the transition zone."

The goal of their study is to determine how close a spacecraft can get to the sun utilizing a new type of high-reflectivity coating. With a new type of material, they predict that they can take the closest record of 8 solar radii from the Sun's surface and turn that into one solar radii away.

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