NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF AEROSPACE

NIA News Release 2017-04: NASA Seeking BIG Ideas for Solar Power on Mars

NIA News Release 2017-04: NASA Seeking BIG Ideas for Solar Power on Mars

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                         July 24, 2017

Bianca Clark
National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Va.
757-325-6721
bianca.clark@nianet.org

NIA Release: 2017-04

NASA Seeking BIG Ideas for Solar Power on Mars

Missions to the surface of distant planetary bodies require power — lots of power.  Through the 2018 Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge, NASA is enlisting university students in its quest for efficient, reliable and cost-effective solar power systems that can operate on Mars both day and night.

The teams will have until November to submit their proposals. Interested teams of three to five undergraduate and/or graduate students are asked to submit robust proposals and a two-minute video describing their concepts by Nov. 30.

NASA’s Game Changing Development Program (GCD), managed by the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) are seeking novel concepts that emphasize innovative mechanical design, low mass and high efficiency, with operational approaches that assure sustained power generation on the Mars surface for many years.

It’s not easy to harness the power of the sun from Mars. Depending on where spacecraft land, the angle and distance from the sun changes substantially during different seasons, affecting solar power flow management and performance. Martian dust is also a threat. It clings to everything on the surface and could form a blanket over solar panels.

The goal is to have a reliable operating power source in place before astronauts ever step foot on the surface of Mars. That means solar array designs will need to fit compactly into a single cargo launch, have the capability to deploy robotically on the surface, and begin producing power soon after landing.

The 2018 BIG Idea Challenge invites teams and their faculty advisors to work together to design and analyze innovations in the design, installation, and sustainable operation of a large solar power system on the surface of Mars, in the following areas:

  • Novel packaging, deployment, retraction, and dust-abatement concepts
  • Lightweight, compact components including booms, ribs, substrates, and mechanisms
  • Optimized use of advanced ultra-lightweight materials and high efficiency solar cells
  • Validated modeling, analysis, and simulation techniques
  • High-fidelity, functioning laboratory models and test methods

From these proposals, NASA and industry experts will select four teams to continue developing their proposed concepts, submit a technical paper, and present their concepts in a face-to-face design review at the 2018 BIG Idea Forum, held at a NASA center in early March 2018. Each of these four teams will receive a $6,000 stipend to participate in the forum.

Student members from the BIG Idea Challenge winning team will receive offers to participate in paid summer internships at either NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, or Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, where they will continue developing their concept under the mentorship of NASA experts.

For more information about the challenge, and details on how to apply, visit the BIG Idea website at:

http://bigidea.nianet.org

For more information about NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, go to:

http://www.nasa.gov/spacetech

 

-end-

Joe Atkinson
Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.
757-864-5644
joseph.s.atkinson@nasa.gov

Shelley Spears
National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Va.
757-325-6732
shelley.spears@nianet.org

NIA News Release 2017-03: Top Ten 2017 NASA iTech Finalists Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                        June 1, 2017

 

Timothy Allen
National Institute of Aeroapce, Hampton, Va.
615-955-2859
timothy.allen@nianet.org

 

NIA RELEASE: 2017-03

Top Ten 2017 NASA iTech Finalists Announced

WASHINGTON (June 1, 2017) — Innovators behind the top ten entries in NASA iTech’s latest call for ideas have been selected and invited to participate as finalists in the 2017 NASA iTech Forum. NASA iTech is a collaborative effort to find and foster innovative solutions that aim to solve challenges on Earth and also have the potential to solve some of NASA’s challenges for deep space exploration.

At the NASA iTech Forum, leaders from NASA and prospective stakeholders have the opportunity to evaluate the most promising ideas submitted by small and large businesses, universities, non-profits, U.S. government organizations outside of NASA and undiscovered inventors from across the U.S. Entrants outlined potential solutions within challenge focus areas including Autonomy, Big Data: Data Mining and Machine Learning, Medical Systems and Operations, and Radiation Protection and Mitigation. A fifth category, X-Factor Innovations: Solutions for Unspecified Future Challenges allows for entries that may not fit within another focus area, but clearly demonstrate the potential to fill a critical need for NASA and humans on Earth.

The top ten finalist’s presentations are scheduled on July 12 – 13 at the NASA iTech Forum, which will be held at the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, Virginia in conjunction with NASA’s Langley Research Center’s Centennial celebration.

“Innovation is critical to developing the breakthrough technologies we’ll need to reach our space exploration goals, but we don’t have to tackle these challenges alone. We are discovering remarkable ideas and inventions in the commercial market from non-aerospace innovators that may also provide solutions to our technical challenges,” said Kira Blackwell, Innovation program executive in the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA Headquarters.

Teams representing the top three solutions­ selected at the end of the forum will receive special recognition during an awards ceremony on July 13 and will be available for press opportunities after the awards are announced. RSVPs for the 2017 NASA iTech Forum should be sent to robin.ford@nianet.org. Media wishing to attend should contact Gina Anderson at gina.n.anderson@nasa.gov by July 10 to preregister.

The top ten NASA iTech Cycle 1 finalists are (in alphabetical order):

Entrant: Aesop Technologies, Newport News, VA
Innovation: 
Aesop Nucleus
Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovations

Entrant: Audacy, Mountain View, CA
Innovation: Seamless and On-Demand Satellite Communications Architecture
Challenge Area: 
X-Factor Innovations

Entrant: Bitome, Boston, MA
Innovation: In Vivo Metabolism Monitoring by Miniaturized NMR Spectroscopy
Challenge Area: Medical Systems and Operations

Entrant: Context Medical, Santa Clara, CA
Innovation: Diagnostic Digital Biomarkers
Challenge Area: Medical Systems and Operations

Entrant: Fiplate, Las Vegas, NV
Innovation: Tissue Regeneration After Radiological and Acute Trauma in Space
Challenge Area: Radiation Protection and Mitigation

Entrant: Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA
Innovation: Autonomous Operations of Large-Scale Satellite Constellations and Ground Station Networks
Challenge Area: 
Autonomy

Entrant: PacSci EMC, Chandler, AZ
Innovation: Modular Architecture Propulsion System (MAPS™)
Challenge Area: 
X-Factor Innovations

Entrant: QuantumStack, Suffolk, VA
Innovation: Decentralized Global Computer Network
Challenge Area: 
Big Data

Entrant: Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Health System (Omniboros Team), Washington, DC
Innovation: Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) for Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Unmet Needs
Challenge Area: Autonomy

Entrant: University of Houston, Houston, TX
Innovation: 
Biologically Inspired Adaptive Anti-Icing Surfaces
Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovations

NASA’s iTech is an initiative by NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist managed by the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) in Hampton, Virginia.

Contacts:

Timothy Allen
National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Va.
615-955-2859
timothy.allen@nianet.org

Gina Anderson
NASA Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1160
gina.n.anderson@nasa.gov

 

For information about the NASA iTech initiative, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/offices/oct/overview

For information about NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/oct

For more information about the National Institute of Aerospace, visit

http://www.nianet.org

NIA News Release 2017-02: NASA iTech Top 25 Semifinalists Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                        May 4, 2017
Timothy Allen
National Institute of Aeroapce, Hampton, Va.
615-955-2859
timothy.allen@nianet.org
NIA RELEASE: 2017-02

NASA iTech Top 25 Semifinalists Announced

Twenty-five of the most promising ideas submitted by innovators across the U.S. are moving forward as semifinalists in the most recent challenge issued through NASA’s iTech initiative. NASA iTech is a yearlong effort to find innovative ideas that address challenges that will fill gaps in critical areas identified by NASA as having a potential impact on future space exploration.

This February, NASA iTech issued a call for white papers outlining possible solutions within five Cycle 2 challenge focus areas. A panel of subject matter experts representing NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist are now reviewing the top 25 semifinalist entries based on their relevance, likelihood of achievement and potential positive impact to space exploration and life on Earth.

The top 25 NASA iTech Cycle 2 semifinalists include (in alphabetical order):

Entrant: Aesop Technologies, Newport News, VA
  Innovation: Aesop Nucleus
  Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovations

Entrant: Apex Space Technologies, Tacoma, WA
  Innovation: Cryogenic Vortex Scrubber for Carbon Dioxide and Water Vapor Removal
  Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovations

Entrant: Applied Chaos Lab at NCSU, Raleigh, NC
  Innovation: Adaptive, Fault Tolerant Hardware Suitable for Autonomous, Mission Sensitive Applications
  Challenge Area: Autonomy

Entrant: AT&T Moonshot, Snohomish, WA
  Innovation: Enabling High Earth Orbit Communications
  Challenge Area: Autonomy

Entrant: Audacy, Mountain View, CA
  Innovation: Seamless and On-Demand Satellite Communications Architecture
  Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovations

Entrant: Bitome, Boston, MA
  Innovation: In Vivo Metabolism Monitoring by Miniaturized NMR Spectroscopy
  Challenge Area: Medical Systems and Operations

Entrant: CALCE – University of Maryland, College Park, MD
  Innovation: Fusion Prognostics for System Health Management
  Challenge Area: Big Data

Entrant: CALCE – University of Maryland,
College Park, MD
  Innovation: An Efficient Ensemble Learning Method for Classification of Big Data
  Challenge Area: Big Data

Entrant: CALCE – University of Maryland, College Park, MD
  Innovation: Radiation Reliability of Electronics in Internet of Things Applications
  Challenge Area: Radiation Protection and Mitigation

Entrant: Complexity for Mars, Baltimore, MD
  Innovation: Algorithms and Sensors for Network Analysis of Contributing Factors to Assess and Promote Mission Resilience in Human Space Flights
  Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovations

Entrant: Context Medical, Santa Clara, CA
  Innovation: Diagnostic Digital Biomarkers
  Challenge Area: Medical Systems and Operations

Entrant: Dominion Space, Austin, TX
  Innovation: Self-Assembling, Self-Repairing Geodesic Domes and Spheres
  Challenge Area: Autonomy

Entrant: Eddy, Dallas, TX
  Innovation: Eddy. The Brain for the First Autonomous Farm on Mars
  Challenge Area: Big Data

Entrant: Fiplate, Las Vegas, NV
  Innovation: Tissue Regeneration After Radiological and Acute Trauma in Space
  Challenge Area: Radiation Protection and Mitigation

Entrant: NAG-Biosystems, Miami, FL
  Innovation: Multifactor Supplement Solution for Radiation Protection and Mitigation
  Challenge Area: Radiation Protection and Mitigation

Entrant: Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA
  Innovation: Autonomous Operations of Large-Scale Satellite Constellations and Ground Station Networks
  Challenge Area: Autonomy

Entrant: Oceanit, Honolulu, HI
  Innovation: In-Situ Resource Utilization: Extraterrestrial Active Transformer for Elemental Recovery
  Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovations

Entrant: Omniboros, Washington, DC
  Innovation: Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) for Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Unmet Needs
  Challenge Area: Autonomy

Entrant: PacSci EMC, Chandler, AZ
  Innovation: Modular Architecture Propulsion System (MAPS™)
  Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovations

Entrant: QuantumStack, Suffolk, VA
  Innovation: Decentralized Global Computer Network
  Challenge Area: Big Data

Entrant: SpaceBooster, Aurora, CO
  Innovation: Interplanetary Spacecraft
  Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovations

Entrant: TriTex, Houston, TX
  Innovation: Tradeoffs in Data Analytics
  Challenge Area: Big Data

Entrant: UHD Robotics Team, Houston, TX
  Innovation: Cognitive Control of Robots with Functional Neuroimaging Data and Transfer Learning
  Challenge Area: Autonomy

Entrant: State University of New York at Buffalo, Amherst, NY
  Innovation: Relative Navigation for a Formation of Spacecraft With Laser Communication Devices
  Challenge Area: Autonomy

Entrant: University of Houston, Houston, TX
  Innovation: Biologically Inspired Adaptive Anti-Icing Surfaces
  Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovations

The top ten finalists will be announced on June 10. These finalists will be invited to present their ideas to NASA’s chief technologists, space industry leaders and potential investors at the 2017 NASA iTech Forum during NASA Langley Research Center’s Centennial celebrations in July.

NASA’s iTech is an initiative by NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist, and is managed by the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) in Hampton, Virginia. The Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) provides the strategy and leadership that integrates NASA’s technology development and innovation activities.

Journalists wishing to attend the NASA iTech Forum in July in Hampton, Virginia must RSVP to Gina Anderson, NASA HQ Office of Communications, by COB Friday, July 7.

For information about the NASA iTech initiative, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/offices/oct/overview

For information about NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/oct

Contacts
Gina Anderson
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1160
gina.n.anderson@nasa.govTimothy Allen
National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Va.
615-955-2859
timothy.allen@nianet.org

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