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Michael Braukus
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-1979)

Bill Steigerwald
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
(Phone: 301/286-5017)

Nov. 19, 2004
RELEASE : 04-380
Help NASA Make the Next Giant Leap
The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC), with its Phase 1 call for proposals, invites those outside the agency to submit ideas for revolutionary systems that could greatly advance NASA's missions and the Vision for Space Exploration.

The focus for solicitations is on revolutionary advanced concepts for architectures and systems that meet NASA mission "grand challenges." Since the NIAC wants ideas for future systems that could be realized 10 to 40 years from now, it is understood that the enabling technologies may not yet be available and the science may not yet be completely understood.

The NIAC's intention is to discover ideas that may result in beneficial changes to NASA's long-range plans. Previous winning proposals include systems or concepts like a spacecraft propelled by a magnetized beam of electrified gas for rapid interplanetary transportation, an electrostatic radiation shield for a lunar base, and the redesign of living organisms to survive on Mars.

"NIAC employs a team of experts in science and technology to review proposals, and successful ones are highly imaginative but grounded in reality," said Dr. Robert Cassanova of the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), the NIAC director. The USRA runs the NIAC for NASA.

The NIAC sponsors research in two phases. Proposals selected for Phase 1 awards typically receive up to $75,000 for a six-month study that validates the viability of the concept and identifies challenges that must be overcome to make the proposal a reality.

The results of the Phase 1 studies are evaluated, and the most promising are selected for further research, through a Phase 2 award, into the major feasibility issues associated with cost, performance, development time and technology. Phase 2 studies can be up to two years long and receive as much as $400,000.

Proposals are due February 14, 2005, and winners receive up to $75,000 to complete an initial study of their idea's feasibility. Phase 1 awards will be announced in July. The NIAC awards about a dozen Phase 1 study contracts per year.

The NIAC encourages interested parties to submit their proposals via the Internet. More information, including detailed instructions and a proposal package, is available on the Internet at:

More information about the NIAC, including reports on previously selected proposals, can be found on the Internet at:


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