NASA Shutters Ideas Factory

By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 22, 2007 8:47 AM CDT

(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.

This handout image obtained 19 February
This handout image obtained 19 February   (Getty Images)
Discovery Mission To Space Station
Discovery Mission To Space Station   (Getty Images (by Event))
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