As Curiosity takes its first steps on the surface of Mars, NASA has already decided what comes next after the rover, namely a submarine to explore Jupiter’s ice-covered moon, Europa, and a robot to land-sail across Venus.
These are among 28 futuristic projects selected by NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program. The ambitious projects are split into the categories of Phase I, which has gathered brand new ideas to be developed from scratch, and Phase II, the survivors of 2011’s program.
The 18 winners of Phase I have been awarded $100,000 each to develop their ideas for one year. This category boasts the boldest projects including a Venus-bound craft which would “sail” the planet using electromagnetic fields.