Science-enabling Technology

Achieving the Science Mission Directorate’s groundbreaking science goals often requires significant technological innovation—e.g., new instruments or cutting-edge capabilities. Each SMD science division—Astrophysics, Biological and Physical Sciences, Earth Science, Heliophysics, and Planetary Science—develops new technologies targeted to enable SMD science. Often, these efforts are accomplished via division-sponsored technology development or mission programs. The directorate also sponsors collaborative workshops where stakeholders examine how innovative technologies can enable Agency missions. In addition, SMD coordinates with other NASA directorates, government agencies, industry, and academia to ensure its research programs and missions have the technology they need to accomplish revolutionary science.

Technology Highlights


Providing Power on Earth’s Evil Twin

NASA and Advanced Thermal Batteries, Inc. (ATB) are developing a high-temperature battery system to power a long-lived lander on the Venus surface. Based on short-lived battery systems used for powering missiles, this new battery approach has demonstrated high-temperature operation for unprecedented periods of time, laying the foundation for a new paradigm in battery technology and for Venus landers.

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