The five challenge focus areas for NASA iTech Cycle III are:

Big Data & Data Mining

Larger and larger data sets require new approaches to turning data into information.  This is true across industries and particularly acute in the space industry where satellites routinely supply Petabytes of data that must be analyzed.  The reverse of this problem is also true, If you know how to teach machines to make the best decisions with sparse data, such as a moon of Saturn where we might not have thought of everything to pre-program into a rover…In either case, we want to hear from you.

Artificial Intelligence & Autonomous Robotic Capabilities

There are many challenges for future space exploration and having robots with artificial intelligence & autonomous capabilities will be essential for future success when operating in an unfamiliar environment, with few examples to have learned from, and tech support literally millions of miles away.  Some of these needs for exploration include (but are not limited to) extraction of materials, hauling, autonomous construction and assembly, or robots that can operate from fault to recovery autonomously due to distances from Earth, or robots with the ability to make decisions like a scientist even when they are in an unknown world.  All of these use cases and more, will require advancements in artificial intelligence and autonomy that have yet to be developed for robots. But if this is something you are working on we would love to hear from you.

Revolutionary Concepts for Communications

Quantum communications is a technology that uses the phenomena of entangled photons to achieve secure, high data rate and long-range communications across space. Although quantum communication technology has not yet been demonstrated at a scale suitable for NASA missions, you may be working on this or a competing technology that can help NASA reduce the reliance on large antennas, broadcast power, and line of sight. If so, we hope to hear from you. 

Medical Breakthroughs

Are you working on new approaches that will revolutionize human health and healthcare? Examples include, but are not limited to, lab analysis technologies, flexible ultrasound technologies, in-situ production capabilities for medicine or food, and technologies that can extend the life of medicine and/or food, hit us with your best shot!

X-Factor Innovations

You have something–you know you do–something so cool something so revolutionary that we didn't even know to ask for it, "but NASA has got to know!”  If that’s your response, and your innovation doesn't fit with another Cycle III category, this is the category for you!