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PROCSIMA: Wedding Two Beam Concepts

4 Apr 2018, 15:37 UTC
PROCSIMA: Wedding Two Beam Concepts
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The name Proxima will always have resonance with interstellar theorists given that our nearest target — and one with a potentially life-bearing planet at that — is Proxima Centauri. Thus an acronym with the same pronunciation is bound to catch the attention. PROCSIMA stands for Photon-paRticle Optically Coupled Soliton Interstellar Mission Accelerator, one of 25 early-stage technology proposals selected for Phase I funding by the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) office. A number of Phase II proposals selected for funding was also announced.
These awards are always fascinating to watch because they’re chosen from a host of bleeding edge ideas, helping us keep a finger on the pulse of deep space thinking even if many of them end with their Phase I funding, $125,000 over nine months to produce an initial definition and analysis. Should the results be encouraging, Phase II funding becomes a possibility, ramping the money up to $500,000 over two years to encourage further development.
The 2018 Phase I competition involved over 230 proposals and just 25 winners, a tough selection process that resulted in a number of interesting proposals. NIAC works by fostering ideas from a wide range of scientists working outside NASA’s umbrella, as Jim ...

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