Latest in Tomorrow

Image credit: Solar & Heliospheric Observatory/NASA via Getty Images

NASA selects proposals for smallsats built to study deep space

They'll help predict space weather and protect spacecraft.
127 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Solar & Heliospheric Observatory/NASA via Getty Images

NASA is expanding plans to use small satellites (aka smallsats) to explore the Solar System. The agency has picked two proposals for smallsat technology that would improve observations in deep space, where they could help improve models that predict space weather. One, Science-Enabling Technologies for Heliophysics (SETH), would demo both optical communications as well as a detector that can spot fast-moving chargeless atoms emanating from the Sun. Solar Cruiser, meanwhile, would include both a giant 18,000 square foot solar sail as well as a coronagraph that could study both the Sun's magnetic field as well as the velocity of coronal mass ejections.

The two proposals are being funded in $400,000, nine-month concept studies. Whichever proposal wins the day will launch as one of the payloads aboard the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) in October 2024. That might not sound like a lot of money even at such an early stage, but that's part of the point -- NASA sees this as a chance to show that you can develop valuable space technology at a "reasonable price."

The winning project could be a vital part of NASA's long-term plans. With plans for an enduring human presence on the Moon and an eventual crewed journey to Mars, anticipating space weather could prove essential -- travelers don't need solar flares and other deep space conditions placing entire missions in jeopardy. This could also improve humanity's overall understanding of the Solar System, including how the Sun affects the Earth.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
127 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Now 'League of Legends' star Faker is a part-owner of his esports team

Now 'League of Legends' star Faker is a part-owner of his esports team

View
What's on TV this week: 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars'

What's on TV this week: 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars'

View
'Assassin's Creed: Syndicate' will be free on Epic's game store this week

'Assassin's Creed: Syndicate' will be free on Epic's game store this week

View
You can make your own rotary cellphone

You can make your own rotary cellphone

View
Microsoft releases its unified Office app for Android

Microsoft releases its unified Office app for Android

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr