In an effort to cut costs associated with maintenance and operational hazards, but to also green up their activities, NASA is actively seeking anyone who could give them a better, alternative fuel solution for flying their spacecraft. Hydrazine is currently used to propel the ships, and it does its job very well.
On the other hand, hydrazine is toxic and very corrosive, thus being very harmful to the environment. “NASA’s Space Technology Program seeks out these sort of cross-cutting, innovative technologies to enable our future missions while also providing benefit to the American space industry,” said Michael Gazarik, director of NASA’s Space Technology Program in a blog post published by the agency.
“By reducing the hazards of handling fuel, we can reduce ground processing time and lower costs for rocket launches, allowing a greater community of researchers and technologists access to the high frontier,” he added.
I don’t know whether people will find a solution until April 30, the deadline set by NASA, but I’m sure a biofuel-based mix can be improvised for this purpose by the smartest side of science, because the stake is high: $50 million.