7 futuristic space technologies that NASA is exploring


Wait till you see what's on the horizon if you think Martian rovers and helicopters are impressive.

NASA has showcased a slew of cutting-edge technology that might be used on future journeys into space.

The projects are the most recent additions to the Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program, which sponsors early-stage research to determine their viability.

The new cohort joins a slew of existing advances in the program.

Here are some of the most fascinating concepts.


Transforming asteroids into massive spaceships


A scalable method of exploring the solar system has been proposed by Project RAMA: turning whole asteroids into massive autonomous spacecraft.

The team intends to convert asteroid components into programmable automata using robotic techniques.

The goal is to reduce the cost of terrestrial launches by fabricating the technology in orbit.


A shapeshifting robot


Shapeshifting is usually associated with science fiction, but NASA believes it may be used in space.

The agency has invested in a flying amphibious robot that can transform into various equipment.

Shapeshifter is a system made up of smaller components that combine to form robotic balls, flying arrays, and torpedo-like swimmers.

The vehicle would go from Titan's rocky cliffs to its deep seafloors, according to the concept.


A football-field size starshade in space


A gigantic parasol in space that conceals the glare from stars may be a beneficial aid for astronomers, according to NASA.

A moving telescope's location and velocity would be matched by the 100-meter starshade. It might then create a dark shadow over the interfering star while allowing the planets' light to shine through.

The concept reminds me of Mr. Burns' big parasol to boost energy consumption, but the developers claim it's just a powerful planetary telescope.


Smart spacesuits with stretchable self-healing skin


Spacesuit problems have been well-documented at NASA. The existing crop is outdated, inefficient, and unprepared for future missions.

The SmartSuit is an attempt to modernize these ensembles. Soft robotics, elastic self-healing skin, and integrated sensors gather and show data to the wearer are all included in the spacesuit.

The kit was created with human expeditions to Mars in mind.


A paper-thin space junk cleaner

The accumulation of junk in space is posing a serious threat. There are around 100 million bits of alien debris with a diameter of at least one millimeter. Even little paint specks can cause damage to spacecraft traveling at such high speeds.

The Brane Craft is a flimsy effort at cleaning up the mess. The gadget wraps itself around orbital trash and then lowers it into Earth's atmosphere, where it burns up.

The craft is about half the thickness of a human hair and has the appearance of a sheet of paper. The inventors equate it to a space-based autonomous spot cleaner.


Making Martian air breathable


If Elon Musk's ambition of populating Mars comes true, he'll (ideally) want to make the Martian atmosphere habitable.

A portable oxygen generator, according to Ivan Ermanoski, a research professor at Arizona State University, might assist.

To create oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, the device employs a technique known as thermal swing sorption/desorption (TSSD). According to Ermanoski, it utilizes 10 times less energy than conventional approaches.

The innovation might pave the way for people to breathe on Mars.


Industrializing space with optical mining


The last suggestion on our list uses a method known as optical mining.

The project converts asteroid minerals into rocket propellants using intense sunlight. This would thus provide spaceships with fuel that was both economical and readily available.

NASA believes the device will eventually aid in the industrialization of space.

These inventions may never see the light of day, yet even one of them has the potential to change the universe as we know it.

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