New York, April 9 (IANS) An Indian-origin scientist’s proposal has been selected for NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) programme — an initiative that invests in transformative architectures through the development of pioneering technologies.
Ratnakumar Bugga from NASA�s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is among 13 other researchers who will be awarded nearly $100,000 for nine months to support the initial definition and analysis of their concepts, the US space agency said in a statement on Saturday.
If the basic feasibility studies are successful, awardees can apply for phase-two awards, valued up to $500,000 for two additional years of concept development.
Bugga’s concept is titled “Venus Interior Probe Using In-situ Power and Propulsion.”
The India-born scientist who has PhD in electrochemistry from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, is currently involved in the development of low temperature lithium-ion rechargeable batteries and in the ultra-low temperature Li primary batteries for Mars probes.
He leads a task force responsible for demonstrating the technology readiness of lithium-ion batteries for Mars missions.
Bugga was the task manager for the Mars Exploration Rover Thermal, Rover and Lander batteries.
Other selected concepts include a proposal for reprogramming micro-organisms that could use the Martian environment to recycle and print electronics and a two-dimensional spacecraft with ultra-thin subsystems that may wrap around space debris to enable de-orbiting.