Still giddy from New Horizons, news today of NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concept grants has me grinning like a fool. In total, seven “phase II” NIAC grants worth $500,000 each, were given to researchers deemed credible enough to step beyond “phase I” research. Phase two grants could hardly be considered generous, in my mind that isn’t the point. NASA elevates research ideas, awarding grants “intended to encourage development of potentially transformative space technology”.
What might NASA deem worthy of encouragement? Ponder Steve Oleson of NASA’s Glen Research Center, he wants to send a submarine to Titan. Oleson believes Saturn’s moon ripe for a dive deep beneath Kraken Mare, Titan’s largest “sea”. Medium cool, but not blowing your horn? How about Bruce Weigmann of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, his “potentially transformative” idea is Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System – electric sails allowing craft to ride solar wind about the cosmos without the burden of traditional fuel sources.
Click and ponder the link below from NASA.
My formative years were spent glued to the old black and white. It didn’t matter the time of day or night, we were there, wide eyed captives of rocket launches and Apollo’s accomplishments. Once upon a time science was fiction, today science realizes fiction and hardly anyone notices. Space exploration matters, it forms the foundation of our future. What I wouldn’t give to ignite a smidgeon of awe once shared by scores of breathless dreamers.
Ponder submarines exploring deep chasms of alien seas, picture the possibility of harnessing solar winds. Allow your wildest dreams to fathom a new reality, then smile knowing anything is possible.