February 2, 2012
NASA Receives Advice On 16 Technology Priorities For Future Missions
NASA received the National Research Council (NRC) report on Wednesday, paving the way for the future road the space agency will travel.
NASA provided 14 draft space technology area roadmaps to the NRC a year ago, asking the council to prioritize technologies for the space agency.NRC created 16 top-priority technologies necessary for NASA's future missions, out of its own list of 83 high-priority technologies.
The report encourages NASA to test-fly technologies that are close to being ready, such as the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator, which provides power for deep-space missions.
NRC also wants NASA to focus on its technology for handling and storing cryogenic propellant in low gravity.
The council warned that the U.S. should restart its supply of plutonium-238, which is crucial to deep-space missions.
"The report strongly reaffirms the vital importance of technology development to enable the agency's future missions and grow the nation's new technology economy," Mason Peck, chief technologist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said in a press release.
"The report confirms the value of our technology development strategy to date. NASA currently invests in all of the highest-priority technologies and will study the report and adjust its investment portfolio as needed."
NASA said the technology priorities the report identifies are aligned with NASA missions to extend and sustain human activities beyond low Earth orbit, explore the evolution of the solar system, and expand the understanding of the Earth and universe.
Now, NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist will lead an agency-wide analysis and coordination effort to update the 14 technology area roadmaps with the NRC report's findings and recommendations.
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