As a part of Nasa's Innovative Advanced Concepts programme, 18 space tech concepts that "have the potential to transform human and robotic exploration of other worlds" were just awarded "Phase 1" research funding.
On the list of projects to receive US$125,000 (RM514,000) in funding over nine months is a SmartSuit concept that could potentially be used to explore Mars.
The primary benefit of this SmartSuit's design will be its dexterity thanks to soft robotics technology. In general, it will be more comfortable than suits being used today and will "allow travelers to be highly mobile and better interact with their surroundings."
Furthermore, the suit will incorporate a membrane of soft and stretchy self-healing skin on the outermost layer to both protect the astronaut and collect data via transparent embedded sensors.
Phase 1 funding will be used to develop the materials and sensor architectures that will be used in the SmartSuit. If the concept is awarded Phase II, the project will move forward with up to US$500,000 (RM2mil) more in funding for two years.
For the first time this summer, the program will offer a Phase III award to one project US$2mil (RM8.2mil) over two years to bring the concept to reality. – AFP Relaxnews