Technology Highlights

Artist concept illustrates a cross-sectional view of a potential ocean world with a surface layer of ice above a thicker layer of ocean water above a thinner layer of ocean floor. 3 thumbnail photos below that illustrate hydrothermal vents, ice fractures and ice blocks.
Solar System
Nov 22, 2022
Detection of extraterrestrial life would be an incredible discovery, revolutionizing humanity’s perception of life and providing us insight into how life begins and persists in various environments.
Solar System
Aug 30, 2022
NASA has developed technologies to enable an autonomous lunar surface station that will revolutionize data gathering on the Moon in the same way that scattered ocean buoys revolutionized collection of meteorological data on Earth.
Artist rendering of a monitoring station  on the moon surface with Earth in the background
Solar System
Jun 14, 2022
An SMD-sponsored team at Honeybee Robotics is developing a Pneumatic Sampler (P-SMP) to capture material on the surface of Mars’s moon, Phobos, for sample return to Earth. Successful infusion of this capability into JAXA’s MMX mission signifies the success of long-term SMD technology development... Read More
Solar System, Planets of Our Solar System
Apr 19, 2022
Keeping NASA’s robotic explorers healthy takes smart software, especially in remote and harsh environments. An initial investment by NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program led to development of a new technology that may enable robotic exploration of distant destinations in our... Read More
Photo of Jupiter's moon Europa, light grey with brown streaks.
Solar System
Mar 1, 2022
All space missions that involve atmospheric entry of a probe or science payload must utilize a Thermal Protection System (TPS) to protect the payload from the extreme heat experienced during atmospheric entry. 
Solar System
Jan 4, 2022
To address the growing need for in situ molecular analysis of Mars samples at fine spatial scales, NASA is developing the miniature LITMS instrument, which combines a laser and gas chromatograph mass spectrometer with a precision subsampling system. LITMS executes a powerful search for... Read More
Solar System
Oct 12, 2021
Dynamic Radioisotope Power Systems may enable lunar science payloads to survive and thrive during the harsh lunar night.
Photograph of two men wearing breathing masks and sitting in a lab with blue metal cases holding computer equipment.
Solar System
Aug 16, 2021
Icy worlds like Jupiter’s moon Europa are prime targets of study to achieve one of NASA’s longstanding goals – to determine whether or not we are alone in the universe.
Artist illustration of Europa, Jupiter's moon, a blue image indicating the icy surface glow.
Solar System, Mars, Planets of Our Solar System
Feb 15, 2021
To land accurately and avoid hazardous terrain, NASA has developed an autonomous, vision-based system for landmark recognition, spacecraft position estimation, and spacecraft retargeting, which will be used on Mars 2020 and potentially other future missions.
Artist concept of Mars Rover landing the on Mars surface
Solar System
Nov 24, 2020
Q-PACE will capture video of thousands of gentle collisions between particles in microgravity to understand the earliest steps in planet formation.
Photo of three scientists (1 female, 2 male) working on Q-PACE electronics at a desk.
Solar System
Sep 1, 2020
When a space vehicle lands on the Moon, it interacts with the lunar surface by kicking up dust, creating heat, and even leaving chemical traces. Scientists need a way to gauge how the materials in the vicinity of lunar landing sites are affected to ensure accurate analysis of any surface samples... Read More
Photo of scientists in lab assembling equipment
Solar System
Jul 14, 2020
NASA researchers are exploring a new radar-based method to map water vapor both in Earth’s atmosphere and near the surface of Mars.
Photo of some members of the WASSR team loading science gear onto an aircraft
Solar System
Jun 9, 2020
Spacecraft frequently employ solar cells and arrays to collect energy from the Sun to power onboard systems. But just like any other spacecraft system, these cells and arrays must be capable of operating in the harsh environments that their host satellite encounters.
Artist concept of spacecraft with mirrors in orbit
Solar System
Apr 14, 2020
The next phase of groundbreaking planetary science requires access to the sub-surface and a means to capture planetary material for analysis.
Photo of DrACO team
Solar System
Mar 2, 2020
A new office has been created to manage the development of scientific instruments, space vehicle technologies, and mission support technologies needed for future planetary science missions.
Image of Jupiter's moon Europa