The dozen and a half early studies are being funded at up to US$500,000 each to aid in the long-term exploration and exploitation of the Moon and beyond.
If there's one thing that has marked NASA's missions since its inception in the 1950s, it's been the willingness to invest in bleeding-edge technology in everything from rocket design to zero-gravity pens. It's an approach that has resulted in both embarrassments and dividends, and it's one that the NIAC program aims to continue.
"Our NIAC program nurtures visionary ideas that could transform future NASA missions by investing in revolutionary technologies," says Jim Reuter, acting associate administrator of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate. "We look to America's innovators to help us push the boundaries of space exploration with new technology."