NASA Seeks Ultra-lightweight Materials with the Right Stuff

To enable human journey to Mars 

Ultra-lightweight materials are needed to construct rovers, habitats and other necessary equipment.
Ultra-lightweight materials are needed to construct rovers, habitats, and other necessary equipment.

Space news (January 2, 2015) – The NASA development laboratory –

In 1979 Tom Wolfe published The Right Stuff, a book about the first test pilots and astronauts chosen for NASA’s space program. Recently, NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directive (STMD) sent out a solicitation to private and business interests with the right stuff to engineer and create ultra-lightweight materials required for the construction of space vehicles and structures capable of traveling and surviving a journey to Mars and returning in working condition.

NASA’s Game Changing Development Program (GCDP) is seeking proposals from U.S. organizations, and educational, business and nonprofit institutions on developing and eventually manufacturing lower-mass alternatives to current honeycomb and foam materials used in the construction of composite sandwich structures. Composite sandwich structures are manufactured by attaching two thin materials to a low-mass core. Stronger ultra-lightweight materials will allow for the engineering and construction of heat shrouds and other components with the right stuff to enable the human journey to Mars and back.

“Technology drives exploration and ultra-lightweight materials will play a key role in our future missions,” said Michael Gazarik, associate administrator for Space Technology at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This call for proposals continues a cadence of solicitations that touch on a specific set of thrust areas needed to push human and robotic exploration farther in the solar system.”

NASA will award two proposals up to $550,000 to develop and eventually manufacture ultra-lightweight materials during this phase of the Game Changing Development Program. This is your chance to become a leader in the human journey to Mars and beyond.

You can view all NASA solicitations here. Just click on Solicitations and then Open Solicitations.

You can learn more about NASA’s STMD and the future space technology expected to help us journey safely to Mars and back here.

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