NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., and the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center, Palo Alto, Calif., are launching a new collaborative effort to pursue innovative nanotechnology research to help achieve the nation's Vision for Space Exploration through development of advanced aerospace systems.
Nanotechnology is the ability to control or manipulate matter on the atomic scale, making it possible to create structures, devices and systems that have novel properties and functions because of their small size: 1/1000th the diameter of a human hair.
"Nanoscience has the potential to both increase capability and decrease weight, which reduces cost," said NASA Ames Center Director G. Scott Hubbard. "Future developments could lead to improved thermal and radiation protection and new sensors that could monitor the environment as well as detect the fingerprints of life."
The goal of the NASA/Lockheed Martin team is to conduct joint research and development projects to enhance scientific and commercial utilization of nanotechnology. Collaborative projects will include planning and designing information, electronic, biomedical and material technologies based on nanoscience.
"Nanotechnology will enable the building of lightweight, high-strength composites for future-generation spacecraft," said Meyya Meyyappan, director of the NASA Ames Center for Nanotechnology.
"Nanoscience can be the key for designing new system capabilities. Therefore, it is important for us to understand and leverage nanotechnology research to ensure that we continue to provide our customers with the best solutions to their needs," said Steve Winzer, Lockheed Martin nanotechnology engineer.
NASA and Lockheed have a long history of working together, especially on life sciences and space exploration missions such as Lunar Prospector. "NASA Ames has become a leading nanotechnology research and development center for the U.S. government and we see many synergies between our interests and their capabilities," said Winzer.
"This mutually beneficial collaboration will accelerate technology development for our own exploration initiative, while allowing our private sector partners to pursue commercially viable products," said Lisa Lockyer, chief of the NASA Ames Technology Partnerships Division.