The five challenge focus areas for NASA iTech Cycle 2 were:
This challenge focus area seeks to complement NASA’s current investments in the development of intelligent machine technologies and methods supporting operational needs in functional areas such as navigation, communication, surveillance, robotics, and design of architectures for integration into an autonomous system.
Big Data: Data Mining and Machine Learning
This challenge focus area seeks to improve NASA’s speed and cost efficiency of dataset analysis. This includes potential breakthroughs in the areas of distributed computing, machine learning, and/or blockchain technology that significantly lowers the cost and increases the speed of analyzing large datasets.
Medical Systems and Operations
This challenge focus area seeks to complement and support NASA’s current investments in medical systems and operations for crew health in areas such as exploration lab analyses technologies, food and pharmaceutical technologies, and AI-assisted medical decision support - including the potential use of augmented reality platforms.
Radiation Protection and Mitigation
This challenge focus area seeks to complement and support NASA’s current investments in radiation detection technologies by leveraging external resources to identify and develop precision radiation detectors. This challenge area also includes a call for research results and pharmaceutical agents which support the control or mitigation of space radiation health risks.
X-Factor Innovations: Solutions for Unspecified Future Challenges
Understanding that innovation can be unpredictable, this challenge focus area is specifically for solutions not identified in one of the other iTech Cycle 2 focus areas. Entries in this category should be able to clearly demonstrate a strong potential to solve a critical need for NASA that is not identified in one of the other four Cycle 2 focus areas.