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NASA Offers Space Tech Grants to Early Career University Faculty

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NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate is seeking proposals from accredited U.S. universities on behalf of outstanding early-career faculty members who are beginning independent research careers. The grants will sponsor research in specific high-priority areas of interest to America’s space program.

Aligned with NASA’s Space Technology Roadmaps and priorities identified by the National Research Council, the agency has identified topic areas that lend themselves to the early stage innovative approaches U.S. universities can offer for solving tough space technology challenges.

“These research grants will help NASA in the development of new space technologies needed for future science and exploration while also fueling the intellectual innovation engine of our nation, powering new discoveries for years to come,” said James Reuther, deputy associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. “Technology drives exploration and these research efforts will help us reach new heights while benefiting Earth right now.”

NASA expects to award approximately six to eight grants this fall. Grants will be funded up to $200,000 each per year, for as many as three years, based on the merit of proposals and availability of funds. Funded research will investigate unique, disruptive or transformational space technologies in areas such as dynamic tensegrity technologies for space science and exploration, high-temperature solar cells, fundamental aerothermodynamic model development and synthetic biology technologies for space exploration.

Dynamic tensegrity-based technologies have the potential to enable more capable and affordable space missions through large, reconfigurable space structures and lightweight, volume efficient landers. Tensegrity, or “tensional integrity,” uses tension and compression in skeleton structures for efficient and economic machine design. The first solicitation topic seeks dynamic tensegrity technologies for in-space, landing and surface operations applications.

Generation of power in a space environment is a challenge for all space missions. Research focused on high-temperature solar cells lead to smaller, more efficient and lower-cost solar cell size. The second topic seeks novel solar cell material combinations, cell laydown concepts, and heat rejection methods that allow solar arrays to function at reasonable levels of efficiency at higher operational temperatures.

NASA missions rely on computational simulations to predict conditions a spacecraft may experience during atmospheric entry on other planets — calculations that help experts decide the type and thickness of materials used to make thermal protection systems for spacecraft. Investment in basic aerothermal physical models and numerical methods is needed to generate revolutionary improvements to the current state of the art and enable NASA’s journey to Mars. This topic seeks innovative physical models for high speed non-equilibrium flows, novel approaches to obtain experimental validation data and improved numerical methods for the simulation of such flows.

NASA also is interested in innovative biological approaches to provide functions that traditional technologies cannot perform for future long-duration missions. Specifically, the fourth topic seeks novel synthetic biology-based approaches that can substantially improve  functionality, reliability, and efficiency in food production, biomedical applications, and in situ resource utilization.

Notices of intent to submit proposals to the Early Career Faculty Appendix of NASA’s Research Announcement “Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration, and Infusion 2015 (SpaceTech-REDDI-2015)” are due March 20. The deadline for submitting final proposals is April 17.

For information on the solicitation, including specific technology areas of interest and how to submit notices of intent and proposals, visit:

http://go.nasa.gov/1vwtqZz

This solicitation is issued by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is responsible for innovating, developing, testing, and flying hardware for use in future missions. For more information about the directorate and Space Technology Research Grants Program, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/spacetech

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Prototype tensegrity robot crawling forward

Tensegrity research is able to simulate multiple forms of locomotion. In this image, a prototype tensegrity robot reproduces forward crawling motion.

Image Credit: 

NASA/Brian Tietz

Image Token: 

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[image-36] NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate is seeking proposals from accredited U.S. universities on behalf of outstanding early-career faculty members who are beginning independent research careers. The grants will sponsor research in specific high-priority areas of interest to America’s space program. Aligned with NASA’s Space Technology Roadmaps and priorities identified by the National Research Council, […]

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13 Facts About Space That Will Make Your Head Explode | Cracked.com

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Thanks to AprilMarie Rogue Quinn 13 Facts About Space That Will Make Your Head Explode — powered by Cracked.com

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Could NASA’s 2015 budget leave Mars rover Opportunity high and dry? – latimes.com

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Could NASA's 2015 budget leave Mars rover Opportunity high and dry? - latimes.comHUGE mistake IMO.  Here we have a perfectly good, functioning rover on Mars, and we’re going to simply “turn it off” because of lack of funding??  So sick of watching NASA’s budget (which is about a half a penny for every dollar of the federal budget) get cut thinner and thinner every year.  There is still science left to be done here, and as costly as these missions are to build and launch, they should keep driving this rover till it’s wheels fall off.  If they can’t get the funding, perhaps another international space agency like ESA or even China will take the reigns?  Not what I want to see – foreigners taking over an American space probe, but if it’s that, or Opportunity goes “dark,” I’ll take it.

-PB

NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity recently passed its 10th anniversary exploring the Red Planet and embarked on what scientists called a brand new mission, but the trusty little rover’s funding has been thrust onto uncertain terrain.

In the $17.5-billion 2015 budget proposal, NASA’s core budget includes funding for several long-standing missions. But two were excluded from the lineup: Opportunity, the surviving half of the Mars Exploration Rover mission, as well as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched in 2009.

Instead, the two missions would be funded within a $35-million “Planetary Science Extended Mission Funding” line inside the White House’s larger $52-billion “Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative,” a separate funding source that includes funding for a wide range of programs, including preschool, job training and climate change research. But House Republicans have not reacted favorably to the larger initiative, which puts NASA’s smaller slice of the initiative pie — and with it, Opportunity and LRO’s funding — onto  shaky footing.

“The idea of allowing it to die a lonely death out there in space is appalling, particularly when it continues to do good science,” Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) said of Opportunity. Schiff’s district includes NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the Mars rover program.

Since landing on the Red Planet in 2004, Opportunity has discovered signs of past water on now-dry terrain and lived roughly 40 times longer than its 90-day warranty. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter set out to map the moon in detail and look for potential safe landing sites for future manned missions (though those long-term efforts have been effectively scrapped for now).

Schiff worried that keeping Opportunity and LRO out of the main funding supply for extended missions and leaving them in a potentially contentious funding initiative would put two highly effective missions at risk of being shut down.

“Sometimes NASA will do things like this because they know the programs enjoy strong congressional support and they expect Congress to find the money to support the funding,” pointing to Opportunity’s popularity with the public. “But that’s not a very prudent way to budget or to plan.”

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden answered questions about the 2015 budget request in front of the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Space on Thursday. It includes testy moments about a proposed mission to capture and redirect an asteroid, which you can watch here.

via Could NASA’s 2015 budget leave Mars rover Opportunity high and dry? – latimes.com.

HUGE mistake IMO.  Here we have a perfectly good, functioning rover on Mars, and we’re going to simply “turn it off” because of lack of funding??  So sick of watching NASA’s budget (which is about a half a penny for every dollar of the federal budget) get cut thinner and thinner every year.  There is […]

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The search is on!

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Look at the tiny fraction of our galaxy that has been searched for planets, and look at the large number of planet types that have already been identified. We are literally just scratching the surface! This is a very exciting time to be alive; to be witness to the exciting discoveries that are yet to come!

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Look at the tiny fraction of our galaxy that has been searched for planets, and look at the large number of planet types that have already been identified. We are literally just scratching the surface! This is a very exciting time to be alive; to be witness to the exciting discoveries that are yet to […]

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Orion

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Just saw the launch abort system or LAS for the new Orion spacecraft. We weren’t allowed to take recording devices in there that transmitted, so I wasn’t able to get any footage. Google it to see what it looks like. What’s old is new again – it looks a lot like the old Apollo space capsules.   The space shuttle was cool looking , but it was a very costly design and very difficult to maintain. 

Just saw the launch abort system or LAS for the new Orion spacecraft. We weren’t allowed to take recording devices in there that transmitted, so I wasn’t able to get any footage. Google it to see what it looks like. What’s old is new again – it looks a lot like the old Apollo space […]

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Heading to see Orion!

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Unfortunately the next location we’re going to is a radio frequency free area, that means no transmitters of any type. Which means no webcasting :(

Unfortunately the next location we’re going to is a radio frequency free area, that means no transmitters of any type. Which means no webcasting

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