These inflatable spacecraft, known as BREEZE, would flap their wings to sail through Venus’ harsh atmosphere and explore the dark side of our sister planet. In 2022, this project received its second round of funding.
Called CREW HaT, this device would spawn a magnetic field to protect astronauts from prolonged exposure to solar radiation. This could come in handy while spending long periods of time on the Moon or Mars.
One research team wants to explore the possibility of creating customized spacesuits on-demand. Not only would this help prepare crews for upcoming missions, but the technology could also repair or replace suits while in space.
The ReachBot is designed to crawl down into Martian caves, in order to further our understanding of the Red Planet’s geology. This project received a NIAC award last year, and 2022’s grant will fund tests in realistic environments.
To protect Earth from a potentially deadly asteroid impact, researcher propose a device called Pi that launches small “penetrators” to break an incoming space rock into tiny chunks that burn up in the atmosphere.
To explore ocean worlds like Europa and Enceladus, researchers are building miniature swimming devices that can be deployed as a fleet to probe potentially life-bearing waters. This concept got a second round of funding in 2022.