NASA’s budget may have been slashed, but the space program is far from dead, especially here in Corvallis. Oregon State University researchers have won a $250 thousand research grant from NASA to investigate space exploration technology. The university is one of 10 across the nation to receive these grants, funding areas of technology that each require major improvements before future human deep space exploration missions can become a reality.
Specifically, the funding will go toward finding ways to remove excess heat from spacecraft without expending a lot of energy. Finding a way to do this efficiently would benefit future manned and unmanned explorations into deep space, such as to Mars, an asteroid, or beyond. The initial one-year grant is for $250 thousand, with the possibility of a second year of research at the same amount.
Work at OSU aims to allow heat generated from sources on space shuttles to be dissipated into space passively, without the use of additional energy. If the research bears fruit, it’s possible that one of the first things to reach another planet could be a bit of technology developed here at OSU.
By Jen Matteis