NASA is investing in new and innovative space technology ideas for better and more effective exploration in the future. Once again, NASA is leading the way in innovative space technology. The agency begins to invest in groundbreaking technology concepts.
This includes space tech swarms, meteoroid impact detection and mapping technologies for small orbital debris. NASA is hoping that these technologies will one day be used for future space explorations.
Following this project, the agency selected 26 space technology proposals still in its early stage. NASA sees a potential to these ideas, seeing that it will transform future space missions and introduce new capabilities for exploration.
One of the two major groundbreaking technologies chosen by NASA is the Biobots. This is designed for more innovative offloading of astronauts for space exploration. In the design of spacesuits for space exploration, there is no more important parameter than the weight on the back.
While on space, the wearer has to support the weight of the suit system. The suit’s added weight as well as portable life support system (PLSS) drives the astronaut’s exertion level. Ultimately, this sets limitations on the astronaut’s EVA duration and the distance they can travel on foot.
It generally hampers the exploration mission’s productivity. NASA sees that Biobots has the potential to improve exploration activities on planets’ surfaces greatly if astronauts no longer need to carry a PLSS. This NIACC proposal solves two things that restrict planetary surface explorations.
Astronauts will no longer need to carry a PLSS for life support. Furthermore, the limitations on mobility, access, as well as operational capabilities will no longer be. Biobots is able to accomplish this by the application of state-of-the-art robotic systems.
These robotic systems will handle astronaut’s biological requirements such as life support. The proposal highlighted a design reference scenario where the astronauts will be able to continue on planetary explorations for weeks or even months instead of only days.
Based on this scenario, each astronaut will have a BioBot accompanying it. The BioBot transports their consumables and life support system. An extended umbilical reel connects the BioBot with the astronaut.
The robotic system can control the motion and direction of the umbilical. With the BioBot connected to the astronaut, they will have access to a small emergency life support system the same as those inside a PLSS.
The advantage of the robotic systems is they allow the astronaut to anywhere and can transport utilities. Biobots is one of the visionary ideas included in NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Phase I. There are 24 other proposals NASA believes to have great potential including Shapeshifter.