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From fungal architecture to swarms of roboticists, here are the last moonshots of NASA

NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts program is perhaps the best place to get federal funding for an idea that seems crazy – because program managers think it may be just crazy enough to function.

Researchers doing the "Phase I" cut receive about $ 125,000 over 9 months to develop their idea, be it breathtaking or simply technically difficult. If significant progress is made or if the concept is promising, a second "Phase II" investment of up to $ 500,000 may be made at NASA's discretion.

According to NIAC program director Jason Derleth, "this year has been particularly fierce with more than 230 submissions and only 25 winners." A significant number of Phase II awards have also been awarded (you may recall a little selections from last year).

I've put together most of them with explanations in the simplest language that I've been able to invoke – click to see what NASA thinks the future from space exploration might look like.