NASA has called on government agencies, aerospace companies, universities and the general public to suggest new technology that could support the agency’s program to explore Mars and other components of the solar system.
The iTech initiative seeks white papers that address challenges in space technology areas such as radiation protection, life support systems, astronaut crew health, in-space propulsion and high-resolution measurements of key greenhouse gases, NASA said Thursday.
“NASA has programs to address the agency's current exploration goals, but we want to also include non-traditional innovators we haven't heard from before,” said Kira Blackwell, innovation program executive at NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist.
“NASA's iTech is a collaborative effort with other agencies, universities, industry and the public to help us reach mutually beneficial technology goals,” Blackwell added.
Interested parties can submit white papers to NASA through Oct. 17 and a panel of subject matter experts will choose the top 10 finalists based on relevance and potential impact of their proposals in the aforementioned technology areas, according to the agency.
The agency added the top 10 finalists will be given an opportunity to present their ideas at the iTech Forum that will be held from Dec. 5 to 8 at NASA headquarters, where finalists can also discuss their work with industry participants and explore potential partnerships.
The National Institute of Aerospace manages iTech and will provide six months of mentorship to the top three finalists of iTech’s first cycle to help develop the awardees’ technology concepts for real-world use.