Asteroid Eating Fungus and NASA's Other New Ideas for Exploring Space

Vitenskap og teknologi

NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program is tasked with funding research into future technologies and concepts which are still at a very early stage, ideas which might still take decades to be realised, but which might change future plans for space exploration.
I wanted to talk about the program and give a mention to all the new Phase 1 studies because they're the stuff of Science Fiction and might one day be part of Science Fact.


  • Lars Larsen
    Lars Larsen7 dager siden

    Did NASA really draw a picture of a solar road on the moon? I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

  • Jan T.
    Jan T.8 dager siden

    :) 114 people don't like future: )

  • Ben Sosnowski
    Ben Sosnowski10 dager siden

    The water in the rocks is not as simple as you say. I worked on a project trying to come up with a reactor to extract water from the rocks and (although we had limited budget and experience) we had no luck at all.

  • Ben Sosnowski

    Ben Sosnowski

    10 dager siden

    For anyone wondering on more details, feel free to @me. But basically the rock has H20 in its chemical structure, and by heating the rock to a high enough temperature you can break the bonds and release the water. Many many problems exist. One of which is that in order to effectively heat the rock you have to grind it to a fine dust. In our case, we actually started the operation by adding water to the dust to improve heat transfer to the dust, before turning on the reactor. So, if everything goes as planned, you now have hot water vapor and dust which need to be separated. This is particularly difficult since any air flow of the water vapor to, say, a condenser, will bring the dust with it. Mind you, the system must be perfectly sealed, since the water produced is so small that if it escapes as a vapor before going through a condenser it’s, well, gone. There is no room for any mechanical complications.

  • Runiat
    Runiat20 dager siden

    The far side of the Moon: the only spot in the entire observable universe where there's absolutely no chance of ever seeing Earth.

  • Dennis Lubert
    Dennis Lubert26 dager siden

    That mining thing reminds me of an idea I read about many years ago to mine asteroids, which is basically a giant mass spectrometer, basically shooting out single atoms and have that mechanism shoot each of them to different trajectories and after a huge distance you have containers and the atoms just land in there.

  • SlovenMalaphor
    SlovenMalaphor26 dager siden

    So one of the quick slides I saw was something about 3D printing on the moon. Unless you are using resources from the moon, that seems fairly impractical, since you still have to ship the material up there, with the additional load of the printer. The origami idea seems it would be much more promising in that regards as well.

  • SlovenMalaphor


    26 dager siden

    @Scott Manley Well now that's freaking genius!

  • Scott Manley

    Scott Manley

    26 dager siden

    They’re talking about 3D printing lunar regolith

  • Lucas García
    Lucas GarcíaMåned siden

    I came looking for copper and I found gold

  • Hal Nordmann
    Hal NordmannMåned siden

    And people say NASA can't innovate any more...

  • Nelson Prestan
    Nelson PrestanMåned siden

    "none of these titles are poetry" 😂

  • Bezymyannyj Takoj
    Bezymyannyj TakojMåned siden

    Naïve question: what prevents deep space laser communication? So far I've only found that there was 24M m successful attempt, but if both objects are in the vacuum, is complexity of telescope required instead of simple microwave dish barrier in what appears to be much larger bandwidth?

    NOEL BRYANTMåned siden

    Fungi on asteroids what an Idiot Idea, spreading disease over the universe. Brilliant

  • Phil Kopitske
    Phil KopitskeMåned siden

    If you heat the lunar regolith you get lots of good stuff as vapor, which you can condense and even liquify to get N2, O2, CO, CO2, H20, He3, He4, and deuterium. A mining rover using some electrostatic wires to collect and reel in dust to a crucible heated by an orbital solar power satellite comes to mind ;). I once read an article about there being a cheeseburger in every m3 of lunar regolith.

  • Gary Chisholm
    Gary ChisholmMåned siden

    ...i thought the title said 'astRONAUT eating fungus.' ...way to go NASA. 😒

  • ACPushkin
    ACPushkinMåned siden

    Exploring Uranus with lasers... sounds like a great idea! ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  • Tavish
    TavishMåned siden

    Thank you for your content! I appreciate this channel!

  • Frank Gulla
    Frank GullaMåned siden

    Nice, very nice, Scott. Thanks for pointing this out.And yes, you ARE Scott Manley.

  • Deipatrous
    DeipatrousMåned siden

    15:43 I am trying to scroll up!

  • Geo De
    Geo DeMåned siden

    Here's one of my future idea concept: Earth Ring Solar Communication Network (ERSCN) If we put 3 or more satellites in the same orbit as earth, just spread out, they can relay info from anywhere in our close solar system. They will have at least 220+ degree (away from the sun) lazer receptors and transmitters. They then transmit the data to the adjacent satellite till the data gets to earth. So, at anytime, any transmitter in somewhat near solar system orbit, can beam laser data that then gets relayed to earth. Phase 2 A ring just before the asteroid belt. Or if laser accuracy is so good, then one after the asteroid belt. Maybe a ring that is 90 degrees off axis of the sun. With enough satellites, every planet and satellites will have laser unobstructed view. The Solar Internet (TSI). Where can the general public submit suggestions for future projects??? My brain is about to explode, too many ideas. Help me Obwan Kenobi! You're my only hope...

  • GrimJerr
    GrimJerrMåned siden

    Scott. just how large would a rotating space station actually have to be to avoid tidal forces that would cause your blood to pool at your feet or flow backwards. Artificial Gravity is more Science Fiction than The Warp Drive or the Transporter

  • John Doe
    John DoeMåned siden

    Turn a crater into a radio dish !

  • John Doe
    John DoeMåned siden

    Ussually small nuclear reaction systems simply rely on solar cells and glowing tritium or some other isotope for when solar isn't an option. This can power a watch, or a low- energy relay for deep space missions... but it's not a very practical or energy dense option. Still, it's relatively safe to launch so this system has been utilized before as an option.

  • John Doe

    John Doe

    Måned siden

    Ion engines are slow and not very taxing though, still I can't see it getting good delta- v either way, unless the vehicle weighs the same as a paperclip like an android sat or something.

  • John Doe
    John DoeMåned siden

    Scatter seems useful.

  • Sebastien Cormier
    Sebastien CormierMåned siden

    Oh man I loved reading the readers digest of these kind of programs. I love how someone was like "Hey we learned how to make the sahara farmable so why not in space" and it's genius.

  • Liberty4Ever
    Liberty4EverMåned siden

    NIAC - NASA spending money today to ensure they will be able to spend money decades into the future.

  • S.E. Sander
    S.E. SanderMåned siden

    I can't stand that word "in-situ" something about it just makes me wanna smack someone. Just fkng say situational. It's not hard. Don't be a lazy sht.

  • John Wythe
    John WytheMåned siden

    Scott Manley is a fun guy. Love you man!

  • Richard Abbott
    Richard AbbottMåned siden

    I'm dissapointed they didn't get the SWIM bacronym to say SPERM

  • frbe0101
    frbe0101Måned siden

    I personally ran the numbers on ion mining and asteroid, great in that you could in theory seperate every element from every other element, even isotope, bad in that the power required to do that level of separation is insane. We are talking TW per kilogram!

  • Robert Paulson
    Robert PaulsonMåned siden

    this is awesome

  • Richard Kullman
    Richard KullmanMåned siden

    a portion of this was a n idea i shared months ago.

  • Liam Live
    Liam LiveMåned siden


  • antsolja
    antsoljaMåned siden

    the simple ones are the best ones

  • Alexander
    AlexanderMåned siden

    The one at 15:50 = solar roadways on the moon. Well, if it doesn't work on earth, I guess you can try somewhere else. At least they won't have to worry about bicycles cracking the panels for a while. WHY magnetic levitation? there has to be very good reason for that. Why not good old railway style system, conveyor belts, rc buggys

  • George Mihal
    George MihalMåned siden

    Personally I enjoyed your video very much. I’ve always loved science fiction and this seems like science fiction coming through the fiction barrier. Very informative, was great information but I can’t help but wonder what kind of reprobate would give it a negative thumbs down. Ridiculous.

  • Christoffer Brobäck
    Christoffer BrobäckMåned siden

    Easily the best outro I've encountered on NOprojects :'3

  • Xp
    XpMåned siden

    SAY WHAT? (at 5:46 ) Exploring your anus though Scat? That's nasty.

  • rkan2
    rkan2Måned siden

    2:30 - That is a strandbeest

  • Craig Mooring
    Craig MooringMåned siden

    There's no such thing as 'a dice"'. The singular of 'dice' is 'die'. And since a four-sided solid is a tetrahedron, you should just call it a 'tetrahedral die'. "But how many people know what that means?", you may counter. Let them exercise their research capabilities and look it up, or indulge their overwhelming intellectual indolence and dwell in perpetual darkness. If they can't look it up they don't deserve this channel.

  • Coda Highland
    Coda HighlandMåned siden


  • Alex Havret
    Alex HavretMåned siden

    Hey! Leave my uranus alone!

  • Mike Herman
    Mike HermanMåned siden

    Do projects get killed because they can't come up with a good sounding acronyms?

  • Jack Hudler
    Jack HudlerMåned siden

    Not going to happen. Not going to risk this getting lose on a ship, or planetary body.

  • George Grund V
    George Grund VMåned siden

    You may think the cia id the central intelligence agency. It is really where all the tla's get their acronyms center of interesting acronyms

  • stark1987
    stark1987Måned siden

    talking to the people who want to go back to the moon, specifically the people who want that moon dust, how about some unmanned probes with half a dozen large return capsules, but we wont need to worry about shape or heavy heat shielding or parachutes because we wont bring them all the way back, but rendezvouz with the iss and they bring it back

  • Noah Hastings
    Noah HastingsMåned siden

    Exploring Uranus through SCAT TER

  • Geoffrey Cairney
    Geoffrey CairneyMåned siden

    Hi Scott, Great Video, Nuclear batteries as mentioned in one of the proposals are devices that harvest electricity directly from the charged particle radiation, alpha and beta particle radiation from nuclear material.

  • Joe Thomas
    Joe ThomasMåned siden

    Anyone know what news Scot reads...??? I want those news channels in my life...

  • PiDsMedia
    PiDsMediaMåned siden

    In the era of SpaceX Starship, sample return makes no sense, just send the lab to those locations, rather then risking contamination of Earth. Infecting empty rocks with life is not a bad thing,... accidentally wiping out life on Earth would be. Pony Express is fun, but completely a waste with the section cycling back and forth, far far easier to have several sattelites at Mars gathering all the data from the roving probes, buffer in those, and then co-ordinate a bi-directional data link back to Earth,.. a sort of, Mars Starlink Constellation on the next set of IP addressed to the Earth Starlink Constellation,...

  • ar2 _
    ar2 _Måned siden

    Thats one of my favorite videos ever made!

  • H. H.
    H. H.Måned siden

    I wonder if the PEDALS concept could be put on the far side of the Moon and expanded to include extremely low frequency radio astronomy for studying things like radiation from the cosmic Dark Ages that's hard to do in places where radiation from the Earth is visible. I don't know much about antennae and maybe this is completely impossible without a dish or if it needs to be bigger or what.

  • David Kennedy
    David KennedyMåned siden

    anyone else getting Wall-E vibes!?

  • James Barclay
    James BarclayMåned siden

    This video is great, I want to see more!

  • Mao Tseovich
    Mao TseovichMåned siden

    There's some old internet theory that I'm sadly unable to locate on Google that holds that you can get way higher download/upload speeds by shipping SSDs with UPS than on any internet connection; you just have millions of ms ping.

  • R FP
    R FPMåned siden

    maybe just maybe all this money could be better spend on THIS PLANET instead of out there where it matters .0002% for our daily lives and all the problems we face on this only planet we live on with all the pollution, endless wars, corrupt career politicians no matter the alignment. These dreamers need to focus on THIS planet, then once we master this one then we can move on to take over other planets and moons.

  • (S)-Riley Dunn

    (S)-Riley Dunn

    25 dager siden

    Interesting. That number you pulled out of your ass is almost equal to the fraction of the world’s GDP that is actually spent on this stuff.

  • Tom Bowen
    Tom BowenMåned siden

    I'm on the Borebot team, and I just gotta say it feels super cool to have Scott Manley talking about a project I'm on. Cheers!

  • Tom Bowen

    Tom Bowen

    Måned siden

    @olsonspeed Could be! That's what Phase 1 research is all about!

  • olsonspeed


    Måned siden

    Borebot seems hugely inefficient.

  • Mephiston
    MephistonMåned siden

    I wonder if that last one could be done with laser relays between here and mars, one in one out so you can have data going both ways at light speed.

  • Mephiston
    MephistonMåned siden

    I'm just imagining titan exploding when a refinery malfunctions.

  • E G
    E GMåned siden

    The stereotyped celsius largely knock because hot acutely punish aside a telling hate. sparkling, amusing sled

  • Curtis Franks
    Curtis FranksMåned siden

    I am hoping that the "swimmers" from the expansion of "SWIM" is actually "SWIMmers", where "SWIM" here stands for "sensing with independent microSWIMmers" and so on. Make it an infinite-degree initialism.

  • R B
    R BMåned siden

    Thank you for your work!

  • SpoilerAlert
    SpoilerAlertMåned siden

    Haven't seen Scott so enthusiastic in a long time! 😄

  • Tsvetan Georgiev
    Tsvetan GeorgievMåned siden

    I am curious who disliked the video

  • Karl Smallphones
    Karl SmallphonesMåned siden

    See all this in 1950s books Yeah its always just around the corner

  • Xion - Gaming
    Xion - GamingMåned siden

    why is it exactly 100 dislikes

  • alan connelly
    alan connellyMåned siden

    Oops, NASA's asteroid eating fungus hot out and ate the earth.

  • Alexander Sannikov
    Alexander SannikovMåned siden

    i like the Titan sample return mission the most. that'd be so cool, and actually looks doable.

  • Trey Nuzum
    Trey NuzumMåned siden

    There is no difference between Science and Science Fiction. It is all a show.

  • Benjamin Lefebvre
    Benjamin LefebvreMåned siden

    Some of these ideas might one day feature in a real tv show!

  • J̴̼̃Ȁ̴͘M̵̔̀E̴͑͐S̴͌̽
    J̴̼̃Ȁ̴͘M̵̔̀E̴͑͐S̴͌̽Måned siden


  • Que Me
    Que MeMåned siden

    Designs should be like the 100... all that I need to say 🙂😂❤️❤️

  • rdfox76
    rdfox76Måned siden

    ...that last one just reminds me of an old line from the computer types in the 80s: "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a Volvo 850 full of floppy disks." Space Sneakernet!

  • palmer eldritch
    palmer eldritchMåned siden

    Looking forward to exploring the depths of Uranus

  • robert brander
    robert branderMåned siden

    These people get paid to Watch .... old reruns of Star Trek ? ..... We Can't even Land on the Moon .... and Humaans can't Live in Space ! ...... What a Waste of Money ! ..... Who gets this Money ? ..... Politicians' Kids , Relatives , Donors , or Backers ? ...... What a Sweet Job ... Studying made up shitt !

  • Richard Betel
    Richard BetelMåned siden

    The Pony Express: Never underestimate the bandwidth of a hatchback full of mag-tape.

  • Yancarlo Ramsey
    Yancarlo RamseyMåned siden

    Love the pun at the end XD

  • George Ray
    George RayMåned siden

    : )

  • Brad Foust
    Brad FoustMåned siden

    Now I want to see a "Data Bus" on a bridge named North Bridge

  • Evan
    EvanMåned siden

    Why don't they put a ton of of starlink satellites constantly moving from earth to mars to create that pony express data logistics network.

  • fab0
    fab0Måned siden

    why isnt amazon calling them data-buses too?!

  • Tradition
    TraditionMåned siden

    Imagine if as a species we were happy to spend more tax money on funding these kinds of things.

  • To The GAMES
    To The GAMESMåned siden

    Scott, you know of Factorio? How do you even have time left to make videos?

  • Shut Up
    Shut UpMåned siden

    Hullo Scot. Can you do a video about modern/currently used inertial guidance computers?

  • Robin Hilliard
    Robin HilliardMåned siden

    I was thinking of something like ablative arc mining, except it was on space junk, and the ions were used as reaction mass to move the junk where you wanted it to go.

  • Ted Ferkin
    Ted FerkinMåned siden

    $100,000 for a concept study...... I used to work in the MoD, we used to get less to design and build prototypes.

  • CaptainDuckman
    CaptainDuckmanMåned siden

    Atomic Planar Power for Largescale Explosions would be much more interesting :)

  • Alex Tigre
    Alex TigreMåned siden

    Why bother rotating the michelson morley interferometer vertically here on earth and changing science forever when you can dream of silly stuff in space?

  • OtakuMage
    OtakuMageMåned siden

    I wonder how well having a relay point hanging out at Mars L1 would be instead of the year-or-more pony express. Could also have something out at Earth's L4 and L5 points to shorten the distance at times and make sure there;s 100% coverage when Mars is behind the Sun.

  • andy cairns
    andy cairnsMåned siden

    -270 degrees..................aren't bacteria much like tthe frozen rock , that they'd be on , at that temp

  • Lukas Zieba
    Lukas ZiebaMåned siden

    This is how you get Orks.

  • Norsilca
    NorsilcaMåned siden

    The in situ Titan sample return sounds cool, but without solar power it'll have to bring all the energy to produce the fuel with it. Probably with an RTG. Wouldn't the energy density of an RTG be less than just bringing the rocket fuel with you? Maybe strictly speaking it's higher with an RTG, unless you're only considering the power it gives off on a reasonable timescale, like a year.

  • Lord Zephyros
    Lord ZephyrosMåned siden

    No ideais too crazy, no idea is too small... What's this star trek??

  • Lion McLionhead
    Lion McLionheadMåned siden

    Strangely all concepts that use really small launchers rather than starship or even SLS. You'd think NASA would order them to come up with ideas only SLS could launch.

  • atimholt
    atimholtMåned siden

    Put the Solar System Pony Express on Aldrin's Mars Cycler. I suppose it's literally “just” Aldrin's Cycler, but for data.

  • MegaKootz
    MegaKootzMåned siden

    My guess is that we will have the ability to mine asteroids and comets soon. A Lot of what I see in modern space "exploration" is less exploration and more resource exploitation. Whatever gets humanity to take those steps I suppose.

  • Tomorrow is Yesterday
    Tomorrow is YesterdayMåned siden

    Just wait for Starship, guys!

  • David Compton
    David ComptonMåned siden

    Those nasty fungi will eat almost anything: Dead animals, dead plants, oil, asteroids. They are going to get fat!

  • David Nagore
    David NagoreMåned siden

    Every time one of these NASA acronym program stories come out, I'm reminded of an old Marvel Comics storyline, where Nick Fury wonders out loud if engineers think up this stuff just to make up an acronym for it.

  • Trigger
    TriggerMåned siden

    (17:12) Fungi-roids sound great, until they go all "Origin: Spirits of the Past" on humanity. In Origin, GMO trees on the moon basically become sentient, rip the moon apart and stretch through space down to Earth, and destroy humanity. Gotta watch out for that.

  • Horth SMS
    Horth SMSMåned siden

    Is this a viable idea? Send a probe to Titan made of two parts. Send the probe at high speed like the Horizon probe to Pluto so that it gets there fast. Upon arrival its speed would be too fast to stay in orbit unless...since it is made of two part is blasted away from the other at a suitable angle such that the conservation of momentum leaves one part slowed down enough to be captured in orbit.

  • Chris Musix
    Chris MusixMåned siden

    "NIAC: a singular acronym that spawned a whole race of acronyms."