From New Scientist:
NASA will likely shut down its Institute for Advanced Concepts, which funds research into futuristic – and often far-out – ideas in spaceflight and aeronautics, officials say. The controversial move highlights the budgetary pressures the agency is facing as it struggles to retire the space shuttles by 2010 and develop their replacement.
The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) was established to “give an opportunity for people outside of NASA to develop really revolutionary and creative concepts for future aeronautics and space missions”, says Robert Cassanova, who has served as the institute’s director since its inception in February 1998.
The institute, which operates from an office in Atlanta, Georgia, US, receives about $4 million per year from NASA. Most of that is used to fund research into innovative technologies; recent grants include the conceptual development of spacecraft that could surf the solar system on magnetic fields, motion-sensitive spacesuits that could generate power and tiny, spherical robots that could explore Mars.
[Read more at New Scientist]
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