- Parabolic Arc
- November 29, 2023
How to Explore Uranus Using CubeSats & Beamed Laser Power
NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Phase I Award
Funding: up to $125,000
Study Period: 9 months
Exploring Uranus through SCATTER
SCATTER studies the capability for a parent spacecraft to transmit power and remotely manipulate a small probe spacecraft through a laser transmitter, entitled Sustained CubeSat Activity Through Transmitted Electromagnetic Radiation (SCATTER).
This capability enables the mothership to intermittently deploy probes during a long-duration deep space mission to Uranus where the use of only PV and battery power sources would be infeasible. Using these probes allows a single mission to provide enhanced scientific measurements such as magnetic field gradients, leading to a better understanding of the ice giants, which are the least explored planets in our solar system.
The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program nurtures visionary ideas that could transform future NASA missions with the creation of breakthroughs — radically better or entirely new aerospace concepts — while engaging America’s innovators and entrepreneurs as partners in the journey.
The program seeks innovations from diverse and non-traditional sources and NIAC projects study innovative, technically credible, advanced concepts that could one day “change the possible” in aerospace. If you’re interested in submitting a proposal to NIAC, please see our “Apply to NIAC” link (https://www.nasa.gov/content/apply-to-niac) for information about the status of our current NASA Research Announcement (NRA). For descriptions of current NIAC projects, please refer to our ”NIAC Studies” link (https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/niac/NIAC_funded_studies.html).
To find out more, see nasa.gov/niac or contact us at [email protected].