NASA is investing in promising new technologies that could help shape the future of space travel.

As part of the 2018 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) initiative, Phase I and Phase II innovations receive financial support from the Agency that is used to test their potential.

“The NIAC program gives NASA the opportunity to explore visionary ideas that could transform future NASA missions by creating radically better or entirely new concepts while engaging America’s innovators and entrepreneurs as partners in the journey. The concepts can then be evaluated for potential inclusion into our early stage technology portfolio,” explained Jim Reuter, Acting Associate Administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.

Phase 1 awards equate to $125,000 and nine months of support; while Phase II ideas, those that demonstrate value during Phase I, receive $500,000 and two-years of evaluation and support.

“Phase II studies are given to the most successful Phase I fellows, whose ideas have the best possibility of changing the possible. Their two-year timeframe and larger budget allow them to really get going on the business of creating the future,” added Jason Derleth, NIAC program executive.

Check out all 25 of the current Phase I and Phase II concepts on the NASA website.


Aliakbar Aghamohammadi
Shapeshifters from Science Fiction to Science Fact: Globetrotting from Titan's Rugged Cliffs to its Deep Seafloors
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA 91109-8001

David Akin
Biobot: Innovative Offloading of Astronauts for More Effective Exploration
University of Maryland, College Park
College Park, MD 20742-0001

Jeffrey Balcerski
Lofted Environmental and Atmospheric Venus Sensors (LEAVES)
Ohio Aerospace Institute
Cleveland, OH 44135-3127

Sigrid Close
Meteoroid Impact Detection for Exploration of Asteroids (MIDEA)
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-4008

Christine Hartzell
On-Orbit, Collision-Free Mapping of Small Orbital Debris
University of Maryland, College Park
College Park, MD 20742-0001

Chang-kwon Kang
Marsbee - Swarm of Flapping Wing Flyers for Enhanced Mars Exploration
University of Alabama, Huntsville
Huntsville, AL 35899-0001

John Kendra
Rotary Motion Extended Array Synthesis (R-MXAS)
Leidos, Inc.
Reston, VA 20190-0001

Chris Limbach
PROCSIMA: Diffractionless Beamed Propulsion for Breakthrough Interstellar Missions
Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station
College Station, TX 77843-0001

Gareth Meirion-Griffith
SPARROW: Steam Propelled Autonomous Retrieval Robot for Ocean Worlds
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA 91109-8001

Hari Nayar
BALLET: BALloon Locomotion for Extreme Terrain
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA 91109-8001

Lynn Rothschild
Myco-architecture off planet: growing surface structures at destination
NASA Ames Research Center
Moffett Field, CA 94035-0001

Dmitry Savransky
Modular Active Self-Assembling Space Telescope Swarms
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-7501

Nickolas Solomey
Astrophysics and Technical Study of a Solar Neutrino Spacecraft
Wichita State University
Wichita, KS 67260-9700

Grover Swartzlander
Advanced Diffractive MetaFilm Sailcraft
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, NY 14623-5604

Jordan Wachs
Spectrally-Resolved Synthetic Imaging Interferometer
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation
Boulder, CO 80301-2734

Ryan Weed
Radioisotope Positron Propulsion
Positron Dynamics
Livermore, CA 94551-0001


Robert Adams
Pulsed Fission-Fusion (PuFF) Propulsion Concept
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Huntsville, AL 35812-0001

John Brophy
A Breakthrough Propulsion Architecture for Interstellar Precursor Missions
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA 91109-8001

Devon Crowe
Kilometer Space Telescope (KST)
El Segundo, CA 90245-4501

Jay McMahon
Dismantling Rubble Pile Asteroids with AoES (Area-of-Effect Soft-bots)
University of Colorado, Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0431

Steven Oleson
Triton Hopper: Exploring Neptune's Captured Kuiper Belt Object
NASA Glenn Research Center
Cleveland, OH 44135-3127

John Slough
Spacecraft Scale Magnetospheric Protection from Galactic Cosmic Radiation
Redmond, WA 98052-3557

Slava Turyshev
Direct Multipixel Imaging and Spectroscopy of an Exoplanet with a Solar Gravity Lens Mission
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA 91109-8001

Michael VanWoerkom
NIMPH: Nano Icy Moons Propellant Harvester
ExoTerra Resource
Littleton, CO 80127-4274

James Woodward
Mach Effect for In Space Propulsion: Interstellar Mission
Space Studies Institute, Inc.
Mojave, CA 93501-0001