Activities of NASA

In the USA, which spent approx. 600 million $ public funds on Nanotechnology in the year 2002 in the framework of the NNI, nano-technology has substantially higher importance for space technology than in Europe. This for example is manifested through the fact that NASA had its own nanotechnology budget of 46 million $ in 2002. The nanotechnology research of NASA can be assigned to four main directions:

• Materials (11 Mio. $, controlled by NASA Langley Laboratory)

• Electronics and data processing (15 Mio. $, controlled by NASA Ames Laboratory)

• Sensors and Components (10 Mio. $, controlled by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

• Basic research

funds for nanotechnology

18 Personal communication of F. Ongaro (ESA) from 07.06.2002

NASA Nanotechnology Funding (2002)

I Materials

] Sensors and Components

□ Electronics and Data Processing

□ Basic Research

I Materials

] Sensors and Components

□ Electronics and Data Processing

□ Basic Research

Illustration 6: Planned Distribution of 46 Mio. $ nanotechnology funds of the NASA in the year 2002 (Source: Roco 2001)

Many of the nanotechnology objectives of NASA aim at a long-term time horizon and are more or less visionary at present. One main goal is a Long term nanotechnolo- significant increase in spacecraft capabilities with simultaneous mass gy objectives of NASA reduction and miniaturization, which can not be achieved with conventi onal technologies. A new era of robotic exploration of the solar system is to be proposed by application of nanotechnology among other technologies through the development of small economical spacecrafts with high autonomy and improved capabilities. Furthermore, nanotechnological diagnostics and therapy procedures will improve life support systems and an autonomous medical supply of astronauts which will pave the way for long-term and more complex manned space missions. Nanotechnological roadmaps of NASA reach up to 20 years into the future (see illustration

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