An ICA proposal Review Board, consisting of Sharon Goza, Lauren Rush and Jack James, met to consider all 70 project submissions from civil servants and contractors alike from the December 2012 ICA Fall Call. The call required investigators to focus on dual-use technologies that have the potential to result in economic and/or societal benefits in addition to human space exploration benefits.
An ICA "open call" represents the continued commitment JSC has to authorize technology development for small, individual projects that can use funding provided by the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist. JSC Chief Technologist John Saiz said, "It is encouraging to see people taking a chance and proposing ideas they are uncertain will even work." Saiz added, "Once developed, these ideas could have a significant impact on the space program."
Three examples of this year's innovative FY'13 ICA projects include:
Ashot Sargsyan - "Innovative Method and Device for Standardized ICP Monitoring" NASA has identified a subset of International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers that have noted changes in visual perception that could be related to intracranial pressure (ICP). Direct measurement of ICP is invasive so alternative non-invasive measures are being researched and developed to study specific responses to light using specific standardized physiological manipulations when direct ICP measurement is not available.
The dual-use rationale for the proposal includes the opportunity to evaluate using devices to enhance and standardize the way non-invasive measurements are made for multiple applications including critical care medicine, pediatric neurological practice, and even remote areas where medical diagnostic tools are limited.
Charles Hill – "Innovative Rigidized Inflatable Structure Concept" This is a novel concept that has been developed in the Structural Engineering Division at JSC. Manufacturing a prototype will allow testing and modifications, if necessary, to produce a demonstration article. The study will help illustrate the possible utilization of the innovative technique for on-orbit manufacturing.
The dual-use rational for commercial applications "…includes remote fabrication of wind energy structures, rapid deployment of remote housing and bridges, petroleum exploration drilling platforms, and large-scale corrosion-resistant industrial process equipment," according to Hill.
Rama Kumar Allada – "Chemistry and Thermodynamics of Solid Waste Streams used in Waste-to-Energy (WTE) Systems" Accumulation of solid waste materials from disposable supplies and other sources during space missions take up precious cargo and living space within a habitat. Materials must be properly managed; and converting the solid waste into an energy source could turn out to be a viable solution to the problem. Gaining a chemical understanding of these waste streams helps to design processes, assess the environmental hazards and design impacts of various conversion technologies, and compare the related costs and resource requirements necessary to process solid wastes generated during a deep-space mission.
The dual-use rational includes providing an additional source for green energy, therefore fostering energy independence, by turning ordinary "trash" into a useful energy source like natural gas. Furthermore, a less toxic way to destroy municipal solid waste would optimize our land use by freeing up space that would otherwise be taken by landfills.
Here is the full list of primary investigators who had projects selected for FY'13 Fall ICAs by the Review Board: Oron Schmidt, D. Arndt, Douglas Wong, Shelby Thompson, Dina Poncia, Gordon Vos, Rama Allada, Arturo Vasquez, Cinda Chullen, Shane McFarland, Christopher Sangster, Manuel Mauricio, Satish Reddy, Thomas Cognata, Eric Malroy, Jess Waller, Charles Hill, Ashot Sargsyan, Linda Shackelford, Michael Callahan, and Lui Wang.
The development of Innovation Charge Account projects through JSC's ICA bi-annual competition allow JSC/WSTF and NASA to continue offering incredible tools and technologies for the space program in addition to beneficial spinoffs for local, national and global commercial enterprises.