NASA set to explore Quantum Tech and 3D printing for climate and space research

NASA is set to launch two Space Technology Research Institutes aimed at developing crucial technology for engineering and climate research.

| Updated on: Mar 18 2023, 23:12 IST
Best NASA Astronomy Pictures of the Week: Soul Nebula, Omega Centauri and more
1/5 A Colourful Rainbow (March 13) - It is an image of a rainbow backdropping a tree. The reason the rainbow can be seen behind the tree is because its position depends on the observer. The picture was captured by published landscape and wildlife photographer Eric Houck in early January near Knights Ferry, California, USA. (NASA/Eric Houck)
2/5 Stellar Soul Nebula (March 14) - The picture mesmerizing snapshot of IC 1848, also known as the Soul Nebula. It is an open cluster of stars spanning about 150 light-years across and located 6500 light-years away. It lies in the constellation Cassiopeia alongside another Nebula known as the Heart Nebula. Together, both these Nebulae form the Heart & Soul Nebulae. (NASA/Jose Jimenez)
3/5 Venus-Jupiter Conjunction (March 15) - The picture shows the Venus-Jupiter conjunction captured in Wiltingen, Germany. This amazing phenomenon was captured by astrophotographer Michael Luy from the Trier Observatory. While Venus is the hottest planet, Jupiter is a massive gas giant. In fact, it is so big that you can fit almost 1400 Venuses in Jupiter. This also means that Venus is much closer to Earth than Jupiter. (NASA/Michael Luy)
4/5 Stars of Omega Centauri (March 16) - It is a snapshot of millions of stars in the Omega Centauri star cluster. Also known as NGC 5139, Omega Centauri is located about 15000 light-years away in the constellation Centaurus. It was the first non-stellar object identified by English astronomer Edmond Halley 1677. (NASA/Neil Corke(Heaven's Mirror Observatory))
5/5 Medusa Nebula (March 17) - It is a picture of Abell 21, which is also known as the Medusa Nebula due to the serpentine filaments of gas in the cloud. According to NASA, the Medusa Nebula is an old planetary nebula located in the Gemini constellation about 1500 light-years away and spans nearly 4 light-years across. (NASA/Martin Bradley (Chesterfield Astronomical Society))
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NASA is set to use advanced 3D Printing metal parts for spaceflight with state-of-the-art modelling. (NASA)

NASA is eyeing two new institutes to advance technology critical to engineering and climate research. Two research institutes are set to receive up to $15 million over a period of five years each. One institute will concentrate on enhancing quantum sensing technology to support climate research, while the other will strive to improve comprehension and facilitate prompt certification of metal parts produced through advanced manufacturing methods.

"Their work will enable next-generation science for studying our home planet and broaden the use of 3D-printed metal parts for spaceflight with state-of-the-art modeling,” Jim Reuter, associate administrator for the agency's Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA said. Here's what NASA is planning:

NASA's new journey towards Climate Research

The Quantum Pathways Institute, headed by the University of Texas at Austin, will spearhead efforts to propel quantum sensing technology for next-generation Earth science applications. The institute's focus is to promote new knowledge of our planet and the ramifications of climate change through the use of quantum sensors, which leverage principles of quantum physics to potentially gather more accurate data and facilitate unprecedented scientific measurements. These sensors are particularly promising for satellites in Earth's orbit, as they can collect data on mass changes, a type of measurement that provides insight into the movements and alterations of ice, oceans, and land water.

Carnegie Mellon University located in Pittsburgh will spearhead the Institute for Model-Based Qualification & Certification of Additive Manufacturing (IMQCAM) alongside co-leader Johns Hopkins University located in Baltimore. This institute is dedicated to enhancing computer models of 3D-printed, also known as additively manufactured, metal parts to broaden their applicability in spaceflight applications.

To produce 3D-printed metal parts, powdered metals are melted in a specific manner and moulded into functional parts. These parts have potential applications in rocket engines, providing greater flexibility to create new parts when designs change, or in establishing a human outpost on the Moon where transportation costs and pre-fabricated part limitations are significant factors. Nevertheless, effective certification and use of such parts necessitate precise forecasts of their properties.

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First Published Date: 18 Mar, 23:09 IST