Michael Braukus

Headquarters, Washington, DC

(Phone: 202/358-1979)

RELEASE: 00-167

A rover-robot scuttling across the rocky surface of a far-
away planet suddenly “decides” to swerve sharply left to avoid a
boulder. A tiny spacecraft hurtling through the darkness of space
“diagnoses” and repairs its own malfunctions without waiting for
instructions from home.

These scenarios could result from two of the 111 proposals NASA
has selected as part of its Cross-Enterprise Technology
Development Program. The agency will spend more than $120 million
seeking high-payoff technologies to revolutionize future space-
flight systems.

Over the next one-to-three years, principal investigators in 30
states, chosen from a field of more than 1200 applicants, will
explore promising new ideas that could lead to the agency’s
achieving many of its long-range goals in space science, Earth
science and human exploration of space. Forty-nine percent of the
selected proposals are from universities.

The broad range of studies, to be conducted by universities,
industry, and private and government laboratories will address ten
general technology areas. For example, new sensors will be
developed for the gathering of previously unavailable science data
from remote sources. The automation of spacecraft functions will
be studied to enable complex new missions with greatly reduced
human intervention. New component technologies including advanced
materials, micro-devices and support systems will be developed
that can significantly reduce the mass, cost and on-board resource
needs of future spacecraft.

The Cross-Enterprise Technology Development Program is a primary
NASA vehicle for identifying and developing revolutionary space
technologies to enable future missions and stimulate new concepts
for missions not yet conceived.

NOTE TO EDITORS: The list of selected proposals is available on
the Internet at:


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