The U.S. space agency has awarded $106 million to entrepreneurs to develop technology that, among other application areas, could help humans live on the moon and Mars.
Over 140 proposals were chosen from 129 U.S. small businesses to receive Phase II contracts as part of NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research program.
“Small businesses play an important role in our science and exploration endeavors,” Jim Reuter, acting associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, said in a May 14 release. “NASA’s diverse community of partners, including small businesses across the country, helps us achieve our mission and cultivate the U.S. economy. Their innovations will help America land the first woman and the next man on the Moon in 2024, establish a sustainable presence on the lunar surface a few years later, and pursue exciting opportunities for going to Mars and beyond.”
The proposals span human exploration and operations, space technology, science and aeronautics, with technologies that manage autonomous aircraft, solar panels that deploy like venetian blinds, and a high-resolution X-ray instrument that analyzes rocks and core samples on planets and asteroids.