In a bid to extend human presence deeper into the solar system, NASA is planning to set up research institutes to focus on development of technologies required for the endeavour. According to a press release by the space research organisation, NASA has selected proposals of two multi-disciplinary, university led research institutes. As per the statement in the press release, the Space Technology Research Institutes (STRIs) created under these proposals will see researchers from several organizations collaborating together on developing advanced technologies in “bio-manufacturing and space infrastructure, with the goal of creating and maximizing Earth-independent, self-sustaining exploration mission capabilities.”
According to Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington, “These university-led, multi-disciplinary research programs promote the synthesis of science, engineering and other disciplines to achieve specific research objectives with credible expected outcomes within five years.” The selected institutes, which are Center for the Utilization of Biological Engineering in Space (CUBES) and Institute for Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design (US-COMP), will be granted up to $15 million over a period of five-year.
NASA, in recent years, has shifted its focus towards deep space missions. The agency is eager to invest in developing technologies which will allow crews to manufacture products they need for long-duration space missions, so they no longer have to rely on resupply missions from Earth.