NASA funds ideas from science fiction

Scene from "John Carter"

A scene from the 2012 movie “John Carter” shows an airship engaged in a Martian battle. The NASA-backed concept for a Martian airship isn’t as ambitious. (© 2011 Disney / John Carter™ ERB, Inc.)

Truth can be stranger than fiction, but it shouldn’t be strange to hear that NASA spends millions of dollars on efforts to turn science-fiction concepts into true technologies.

The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program, also known as NIAC, has been backing far-out aerospace concepts for almost 20 years. It started out as the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts, modeled after the Pentagon’s DARPA think tank.

NIAC’s latest crop of 22 tech projects was announced this week, and they include a few concepts that were virtually ripped from the headlines of science fiction’s pulp magazines.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

About Alan Boyle

Award-winning science writer, creator of Cosmic Log, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.
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