SPACE FLIGHT SYSTEMS RADIOISOTOPE POWER SYSTEMS PROGRAM OFFICE NATIONAL CENTER FOR SPACE EXPLORATION RESEARCH EXTERNAL PARTNERS EDUCATION/OUTREACH SPACE EXPLORATION BENEFITS PROGRAM SUPPORT IMAGE GALLERY



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Nanotechnology


"The primary objective of this project is to reduce weight and improve the performance and durability of materials , electronics and power systems."



Nanotechnology

The nanotechnology project consists of two initial project elements: (1) advanced nanotechnology research and applications for space technology including Nano-manufacturing, Nano-electronics, and Nano-enhanced solar energy conversion, and (2) a Nano Energetics Propulsion project element effort. As part of a larger federal initiative in this area, this Nanotechnology technology development must be coordinated with NNTC and as such partnership opportunities with other government agencies included the NRO, DoD and NIST and academia will be pursued.


Nanotechnology is the creation of functional materials, devices and systems through control of matter on the nanometer length scale (1-100 nanometers), and exploitation of novel phenomena and properties (physical, chemical, biological, mechanical, electrical...) at that length scale. For comparison, 10 nanometers is 1000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. A scientific and technical revolution has just begun based upon the ability to systematically organize and manipulate matter at nanoscale. Payoff is anticipated within the next 10-15 years.


Why Nanotechnology at NASA?

• Advanced miniaturization is a key thrust area to enable new science and exploration missions

      - Ultrasmall sensors, power sources, communication, navigation, and propulsion systems with very low mass, volume and power consumption are needed

• Revolutions in electronics and computing will allow reconfigurable, autonomous, "thinking" spacecraft

• Nanotechnology presents a whole new spectrum of opportunities to build device components and systems for entirely new space architectures

      - Networks of ultrasmall probes on planetary surfaces
      - Micro-rovers that drive, hop, fly, and burrow
      - Collection of microspacecraft making a variety of measurements

 

 

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