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NASA Awards $1.2 Million to Universities for Innovative Research
NASA has selected five proposals from universities around the country to receive a total of $1.2 million for Phase Two of the NASA Ralph Steckler Space Grant Colonization Research and Technology Development Opportunity.

The Steckler Space Grant Phase Two awards will sustain university research and development activities that support innovative research and expand technology that could pave the way for future space colonies. Phase Two provides during the next two years a maximum of $250,000 to the most promising proposals submitted by Phase One awardees. Second phase proposals were selected based on scientific and technical merit and Phase One accomplishments.

NASA selected proposals from the University of Arizona in Tucson; the University of Idaho in Moscow; Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Ohio; Aerospace Institute in Cleveland; and New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

"Many of the universities selected for the second phase of the grant have already completed conceptual design studies and preliminary technical analysis for technological developments like waste treatment or nuclear power and propulsion generation in space,” said Frank Prochaska, manager of the Steckler Space Grant Project at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. “These awards will allow them to expand their innovative solutions to unique problems.”

Steckler Space Grants are implemented through three funding and development phases. Phase One lasted nine months and awarded up to $70,000 to 18 universities. It established the scientific and technical merit and feasibility of a proposed innovation, research or technology development effort that could enable space colonization or settlement. Primary exploration elements include habitation, rovers, surface power, communications and extravehicular activity systems.

NASA received 15 proposals for Phase Two. The agency released the cooperative agreement notice inviting Phase One awardees to submit proposals for these grants in November 2010. Phase Three will award two universities a maximum of $275,000 over two years. The Space Grant national network includes more than 850 affiliates from universities, colleges, industry, museums, science centers and state and local agencies supporting and enhancing science and engineering education, research and public outreach efforts for NASA's aeronautics and space projects.

Ralph Steckler was an assistant film director and photographer from Southern California who had a lifelong interest in space colonization. He left part of his estate to NASA for the colonization of space and the betterment of mankind. Those funds currently provide universities with NASA research opportunities based on his vision.

With this program and NASA's other college and university programs, the agency continues its tradition of investing in the nation's education programs with the goal of developing science, technology, engineering and math skills and capabilities critical to achieving the nations' exploration goals.

For more information about NASA's education programs, visit: