The economic realities that have, at times, placed NASA's funding levels in question have also inspired the agency to more proactively explore partnerships outside of the traditional government ecosystem. In one such example from earlier in the week, officials announced the award of 10 separate grants, worth approximately $250,000 each, to university-led research proposals regarding early-stage space technologies.
Although many of the projects are very much in their formative stages, university patent portfolios and filings helped guide NASA officials in their decision-making processes. Winning proposals came from institutions of all sizes and locations, ranging from Oregon State University to the Georgia Institute of Technology.
"NASA's Space Technology Program is moving out on solving the cross-cutting technology challenges we face as we move beyond low-Earth orbit and head to an asteroid, Mars and beyond," program director Michael Gazarik explained. "We're excited and proud to partner with the best minds from American universities to take on these tough technical challenges."
According to AOL Government, NASA has been one of the most forward-thinking federal agencies when it comes to moving beyond rigid, hierarchical knowledge management systems and welcoming new contributors into the fold. One of the most consistent themes in its recent cross-sector collaborations has been the potential of open source software development as a means of continuous innovation.