NASA Explores Quantum Tech for Climate Data in 'Next-Generation Science"
NASA will launch two Space Technology Research Institutes to help develop crucial technology in engineering and climate research. Over five years, each institute will receive funding of up to $15 million.
The International Space Station views Argentina's Perito-Moreno Glacier. NASA has announced that its Space Technology Research Institute will specialize in quantum sensing technology to improve mass change measurements from orbit. This will allow scientists to understand the movement and effects of ice on Earth's surface.( Image Source: NASA ).
NASA is moving forward with its long-term exploration goals using two newly created Space Technology Research Institutes, (STRIs). The agency announced Thursday that it will leverage teams from US universities to develop critical technology for engineering and climate research. It said that the STRIs will bring together experts in different fields to improve aerospace capabilities through investments into early-stage technology.
The agency stated that one of the institutes will be working on quantum sensing technology to support research on climate change, while the other will improve the understanding and certification of metal parts made using advanced manufacturing techniques.
Jim Reuter, NASA's associate administrator, Space Technology Mission Directorate, expressed excitement at the opportunity to draw on the expertise of these multiuniversity teams in order to create technology for urgent needs. He stated that his work would enable next-generation science to study our planet and expand the use of 3D printed metal parts for spaceflight using state-of-the art modelling.
Each institute will receive funding of up to $15 million over five years. The institutes are designed to improve future aerospace capabilities by investing early-stage technology and leveraging expertise from multiple disciplines, including universities, industry and non-profit organizations. This collaboration involves science, engineering, as well as other fields, to make significant advances in the aerospace industry.
NASA announced that the Quantum Pathways Institute, which is led by the University of Texas at Austin has been established to advance quantum sensing technology for Earth sciences applications. Quantum sensors, which use quantum physics principles, can provide more precise data and enable new scientific measurements. NASA explained that this technology could be particularly beneficial for space missions that collect mass change data from satellites, providing new insights into the effects on the planet's climate change.
According to the agency, the institute will further develop the physics of quantum sensors and design them for space missions. It will also explore how mission design, systems engineering, and mission design can accommodate this new technology. The institute has several partners, including the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of California Santa Barbara.
Johns Hopkins University and Carnegie Mellon University lead the Institute for Model-based Qualification & Certification of Additive Manufacturing. This institute aims to improve computer models of 3D printed metal parts for spaceflight applications.
NASA announced that the institute will create detailed computer models known as digital twins to predict the properties 3D-printed parts made of spaceflight materials. These models will also help engineers understand the parts' limitations and capabilities, such as their ability to withstand stress before breaking. Vanderbilt University and University of Texas at San Antonio are among the other partners of the institute.science