6th Annual Meeting
Seattle, Washington
October 19-20, 2004


The Mission of NASA's
Institute for Advanced Concepts

"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that
will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision
against the play-it-safer's, the creatures of the commonplace,
the slaves of the ordinary."

— Sir Cecil Beaton

Inspiring revolutionary advanced concepts begins with a foundation of creative and innovative thinking extending throughout and beyond the traditional aerospace communities. The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) seeks to encourage a broad cross-section of innovators and seeks to inspire unbridled thinking across age groups.

NASA has always recognized as an inherent part of its mission the need to plan and lay the groundwork for ambitious and far-reaching missions well into the future. A number of missions and programs are now planned by NASA that build on decades of the nation's aerospace experience and will stretch the limits of current and evolving technology. NIAC was envisioned to be "an independent source of revolutionary aeronautical and space concepts that could drastically impact how NASA develops and conduucts its mission." As a result, the sole focus of NIAC is revolutionary concepts for architectures and systems – grand ideas with significant potential impact on future plans and missions.


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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The Moon and the New Presidential Space Vision
Paul Spudis, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University
(Keynote Address)

Summary: The most fundamental goal of the new Presidential Space Vision is that of living and working in space for increasingly extended periods. In that regard, returning to the Moon is a critical first step. Establishing an extended human presence on the Moon could vastly reduce the costs of further space exploration, making possible even more ambitious missions."

Run Time: 44:44   Bit Rate: 42 kbps


Astronaut Bio-Suit System for Exploration Class Missions
Dava Newman, Massachussetts Institute of Technology
Auxiliary Movie: Extravehicular Manuvering Unit on Treadmill (1.6 MB)
Auxiliary Movie: Neutral Bouyancy Simulated Walking on Moon (1.9 MB)
Auxiliary Movie: Neutral Bouyancy Simulated Walking on Mars (2.0 MB)

Summary: The current EMU suits used with the shuttle and the international space station will not work well on the Moon or Mars, thus new suit designs must be ready within the next ten to fifteen years. The best pressure suits for planetary exploration may not be ones that you take on and off but rather ones that you paint on.

Run Time: 41:08   Bit Rate: 44 kbps


Robotic Lunar Ecopoesis Test Bed
Paul Todd, Space Hardware Optimization Technology, Inc.

Summary: Ecopoesis is the process of creating conditions capable of autonomously evolving a self-sustaining ecosystem. The intent is to create commercial systems that will allow other laboratories to readily engage in ecopoeisis research, both in the lab and on the Moon.

Run Time: 30:36   Bit Rate: 35 kbps


Global Environmental MEMS Sensors (GEMS): A Revolutionary Observing System for the 21st Century
John Manobianco, ENSCO, Inc.

Summary: The possibility exists to create environmental observing capabilities that are commensurate with advances in atmospheric models, especially improving the density of in situ measurements worldwide. The GEMS concept argues for mass-produced, mass-released atmospherically suspended (floating) sensor platforms.

Run Time: 42:43   Bit Rate: 41 kbps


Sailing the Planets: Science with Directed Aerial Robot Explorers (DARE)
Alexey Pankine, Global Aerospace Corporation

Summary: The DARE design offers the opportunity of "sailing" through the atmospheres of Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Earth on long-duration flights, placing instrument packages and sensors wherever desired.

Run Time: 34:31   Bit Rate: 39 kbps


Global System for Monitoring Earth Radiation Balance
John Vander Weide, Calvin College
(Student Presentation)

Summary: The need for accurate measurements of the Earth's radiation balance increases as the precision of our understanding of global weather models and global warming concomitantly increases. Although such measurements are now conducted from satellites, long-duration stratospheric balloon flights offer a better opportunity to assess the radiative transfer balance coefficients with greater accuracy.

Run Time: 11:22   Bit Rate: 44 kbps


Solid State Aircraft
Anthony Colozza, Ohio Aerospace Corporation
Auxiliary Movie: Frequency Response, Slow to Fast (13 MB)
Auxiliary Movie: Solid State Aircraft (31 MB)

Summary: The solid state aircraft concept integrates three unique types of materials (thin film solar arrays, thin film lithium batteries and an ionic polymer metal composite) to produce an aircraft that has no moving parts, requires no combustion, can fly at high altitudes, is easily deployable and has applications on Earth, Venus and Mars.

Run Time: 38:35   Bit Rate: 45 kbps


Tailored Force Fields for Space-Based Construction
Narayanan Komerath, Georgia Institute of Technology

Summary: If we are to generate a "space-based economy" for the Moon, Mars and beyond, we must develop means of mining and manufacturing on-site, as a self-sustaining economy. A series of spacecraft (plasmajet rockcutters, TFF rock wranglers, rockbreaker robots, etc.) are proposed that will allow the construction of large stations in space from local materials.

Run Time: 33:36   Bit Rate: 45 kbps


The Origin of Life and Spaceflight Biospherics
Zach Adam, University of Washington, Seattle
(Student Presentation)

Summary: Life has a terrestrial origin. A new theory of that origin is proposed: an initial radiolytic synthesis of nutritive resources and auciliary catalysts is followed by an organic takeover. If true, then these processes can be used to greatly augment the creation of space-based biospheres. Although recycling organic components within the biosphere is significant, due to inevitable leakages, recycling will ultimately prove to be insufficient for biospheric independence.

Run Time: 19:08   Bit Rate: 36 kbps



Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Space Tethers: Lessons from Developing "Revolutionary" Technologies, Inc.
Robert Hoyt, Tethers Unlimited
(Keynote Address)

Summary: Space-borne tethers offer a number of advantages, one of them being the opportunity for greatly reducing the size of launch vehicles, even for interplanetary flights. While the fundamental principles of a space tether are defined in the first half of the talk, the more important part may be the second half: lessons learned during the development of a "revolutionary" technology.

Run Time: 41:23   Bit Rate: 35 kbps


Antimatter Driven Sail for Deep Space Missions
Gerald Jackson, Hbar Technologies, LLC

Summary: An antiproton beam directed against a uranium 238-coated carbon fiber sail, perhaps tethered a kilometer distant from the spacecraft, could produce a continuous Isp of 1 million seconds, thus allowing the exploration of the deep reaches of the solar system.

Run Time: 28:22   Bit Rate: 33 kbps


The Plasma Magnet
John Slough, University of Washington

Summary: Two polyphase magnetic coils, acting as a stator, can be used to drive steady ring currents in the local plasma (which thus becomes a rotor), creating an expanding magnetized bubble. Expansion of the bubble is halted when the solar wind pressure comes into balance with the magnetic pressure from the driven currents. Applications of the Plasma Magnet include interplanetary propulsion, magnetic shielding of a spacecraft, electrical power generation and magneto-braking in the magnetospheres of the outer planets.

Run Time: 32:22   Bit Rate: 40 kbps


Electromagnetic Formation Flight
Raymond Sedwick, Massachussetts Institute of Technology

Summary: Electomagnetic formation flying allows for the actuation of relative degrees of freedom for space-based formation flight systems using EM forces and reaction wheels. Formation keeping in a distributed satellite system such as the Terrestrial Planet Finder could be accomplished without the use of consumables, thereby providing indefinite mission life, with the concomitant elimination of thruster plumes which would otherwise contaminate optical systems and thermally obscure vision.

Run Time: 33:58   Bit Rate: 33 kbps


Bio-Nano-Machines for Space Applications
Constantinos Mavroidis, Northeastern University

Summary: Nanorobots are any "smart" structure that is capable of actuation, sensing, signaling, information processing, intelligence or swarm behavior at the nano scale. Bio-nanorobots are nanorobots that are inspired by harnessing the properties of biological materials (peptides, DNAs) and their designs and functionalities. Biological structures have several advantages, prime among them being self-replication, healing and adaptability.

Run Time: 26:31   Bit Rate: 51 kbps


Ramjet Statoreactor
Florin Mingireanu, Louisana State University
(Student Presentation)

Summary: Ramjet-based spacecraft offer the possibility of interstellar flight, using the interstellar medium itself as the propulsive mechanism. Ramjets are characterized by low accelerations operating over longer mission times, but they are also characterized by high terminal velocities. Their effects are cumulative.

Run Time: 20:42   Bit Rate: 33 kbps


Collectible Projectosats
Darin Ragozzine, California Institute of Technology
(Student Presentation)

Summary: Femtosatellites are defined as satellites that weigh 0.1 kg or less and are easy to mass produce and transport. They are ideal for remote inspections, distributed measurements and as disposable sensors. A potential application lies in asteroid, comet and KBO sample return missions.

Run Time: 16:44   Bit Rate: 49 kbps



These lectures were recorded with financial assistance
from the US National Science Foundation.


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