NASA Shutters Ideas Factory

By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2007 8:47 AM CDT
This handout image obtained 19 February    (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – In a cost-cutting move, NASA is shutting down its futuristic think tank, source of way-ahead-of-the-curve ideas, many of them worthy of a Star Trek script. Closing the Institute for Advanced Concepts will save $4 million out of NASA’s $16 billion dollar budget. But former NASA scientist Keith Cowing describes the decision as “just plan stupid.. explorers without the right tools die.”

NIAC is currently developing a micro-helicopter 1cm wide to fly into clouds to predict the weather; a giant sunshade in space to lessen the effects of global warming, an antimatter sail to explore deep space, and genetically altered crops to grow on other planets.