NASA Seeks Proposals to Develop Capabilities for Deep Space Exploration, Journey to Mars

Nov 2, 2014

By NASA

NASA is soliciting proposals for concept studies or technology development projects that will be necessary to enable human pioneers to go to deep space destinations such as an asteroid and Mars.

Through a Broad Area Announcement (BAA) NASA released today, the agency seeks to use public-private partnerships to share funding to develop advanced propulsion, habitation and small satellite capabilities that will enable the pioneering of space. Public-private partnerships of this type help NASA stimulate the U.S. space industry while working to expand the frontiers of knowledge, capabilities and opportunities in space.

NASA intends to engage partners to help develop and build a set of sustainable, evolvable, multi-use space capabilities that will enable human pioneers to go to deep space destinations. Developing capabilities in three key areas – advanced propulsion, habitation, and small satellites deployed from the Space Launch System – is critical to enabling the next step for human spaceflight. This work will use the proving ground of space around the moon to develop technologies and advance knowledge to expand human exploration into the solar system.

State-of-the-art solar electric propulsion technology currently employed by NASA generates less than five kilowatts. The Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) BAA selected proposals for concepts developing systems in the 40-kilowatt range. NASA now is seeking to advance the technology to 50- to 300-kilowatt systems to meet the needs of a variety of mission concepts.


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2 comments on “NASA Seeks Proposals to Develop Capabilities for Deep Space Exploration, Journey to Mars

  • State-of-the-art solar electric propulsion technology currently employed by NASA generates less than five kilowatts.

    I presume they are referring to solar powered ion drives, for use in the inner Solar-System. http://www.space.com/22916-nasa-ion-thruster-world-record-test.html

    and VASIMR rocket engines http://discovermagazine.com/2014/may/12-rocketmanA novel plasma engine could slash travel time to Mars — now approximately three years — to just 39 days.

    The Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) BAA selected proposals for concepts developing systems in the 40-kilowatt range. NASA now is seeking to advance the technology to 50- to 300-kilowatt systems to meet the needs of a variety of mission concepts.



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  • @OP NASA intends to engage partners to help develop and build a set of sustainable, evolvable, multi-use space capabilities that will enable human pioneers to go to deep space destinations. Developing capabilities in three key areas – advanced propulsion, habitation, and small satellites deployed from the Space Launch System.

    Advanced propulsion I have included in my previous comment, and varous small satellites are already in use.

    For extended time habitation in space, some form of artificial gravity will be required, either from rotation of a capsule on a tether, a boom, or a wheel, or in a space-craft accelerating/ decelerating at about a steady 1G on route to its destination.

    Crew will also need some sort of radiation shielding, which can probably be provided by using water from asteroids or comets in tanks surrounding their cabins.
    Alternatively, bases could be built inside asteroids, or underground on small moons, where the rock will provide shielding, and protection from micrometeorites.

    3D printing of metals resourced in space will be likely to be a key long term development.



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