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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Panel Says NASA Should Reopen Innovation Institute
7 August 2009 11:29 am
In a rare rebuke to NASA, today the National Academy of Sciences told the space agency it should reopen an organization designed to come up with innovative technologies.
The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) was set up in 1998 to provide the agency with creative aeronautics and space ideas that could lower the cost of air and space travel. But the institute—which cost about $4 million a year in operations and grant costs--was shut down two years ago because of budget constraints. That closure prompted Congress to order the academy to study the institute’s record. “NIAC inspired an atmosphere for innovation that stretched the imagination and encouraged creativity,” the report released today concluded.
The panel, chaired by aerospace engineer Robert Braun of Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, determined that NIAC’s program was effective, that NASA has nothing comparable, and that the agency needs an organization to provide “visionary, far-reaching concepts.” As a result, the panel urged NASA to create a next-generation NIAC that reports directly to the agency’s chief. No comment yet from NASA. But the agency’s new administrator, Charles Bolden, is likely to be sympathetic to the recommendation. He said at his confirmation hearing in the Senate last month that he would push to reinvigorate an ambitious technology program at the agency.