NASA seeks transformative tech proposals

NASA is looking for the next big idea.

Its Space Technology Mission Directorate, through the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program, is accepting proposals for concepts and ideas with the potential to revolutionize aerospace endeavors.

NIAC Phase 1 proposals offer up to $100,000 for nine months of study to advance NASA’s mission and enhance innovative space technology concepts. These concepts, in previous years, have covered technological areas that fall into NIAC’s portfolio, such as autonomous exploration, revolutionary construction and aerospace transportation, are intended to help NASA meet current operational and future mission requirements.

“It’s through visionary thinking that transformative ideas go from concept to reality,” said Michael Gazarik, NASA’s associate administrator for space technology in Washington. “Our NIAC program provides an onramp for early stage technology concepts to take seed and potentially create revolutionary new capabilities for space exploration that might one day change how we live and work as we explore the cosmos.”


In previous NIAC phase 1 proposals, ideas have gone as far as using electromagnets to protect spacecraft from radiation or the application of terrestrial ocean-exploring concepts for extremely low-power exploration of under-ice oceans, according to the NASA release.

To submit a phase-one proposal, send in a short proposal, three pages or less, by Dec. 18. After reviewing them, NASA will invite proposal concepts of interest to submit a full proposal of eight pages or less by March 2014.

Proposals are selected based on peer review of the technical strength, potential impact and benefits of the proposed study. These concepts are typically infantile in development and most are 10 years or more from operation.

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