NASA has funded a second phase of several key futuristic projects, including an on-demand space pharmacy as well as an asteroid defense system. These are just two of six total projects that have received additional funding, and could lead to some intriguing results down the line.
NASA announced the latest awardees of the NASA Innovative Concept Studies for Science (NIAC) this week, noting the six projects it would continue to funnel money into. As stated above, the space pharmacy is a huge part of the project line-up, and NASA may rely heavily on those developments in the future.
This project will build off the success seen in a Phase I NIAC project that introduced what scientists call Astropharmacy — which essentially acts as an on-demand space pharmacy for NASA astronauts. The project has already proven that it can create and purify certain elements.
Now, the project seeks to prove that it can create and purify acceptable quantities of drugs that astronauts may need while they are out in space. It’s an intriguing system that could help combat any diseases or illnesses that pop up during the exploration of the Moon and even Mars.
Alongside NASA’s space pharmacy project, scientists are working on a new type of asteroid defense system. NASA has already proven that systems like DART can work, allowing us to use momentum to change an asteroid’s orbit. However, new tech is being developed to see if asteroid pulverization can work, too.
Other plans are in motion to create an observatory that can collect data from deep space, giving us a broader view of the universe. NASA is also funding the FarView Observatory, a lunar-based telescope on our Moon’s far side.
These projects will hopefully help push the future of space exploration to new levels. While the Artemis missions are already seeing huge success, having an on-demand space pharmacy that NASA can rely on will also help alleviate concerns of illnesses striking hard at astronauts on the Moon and even other planets down the line.