NEW YORK — An Indian American scientist's proposal has been selected for NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts program, an initiative that invests in transformative architectures through the development of pioneering technologies.

Ratnakumar Bugga from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., is among 13 other researchers who will be awarded nearly $100,000 for nine months to support the initial definition and analysis of their concepts, the U.S. space agency said in a statement on April 9.

If the basic feasibility studies are successful, awardees can apply for phase-two awards, valued up to $500,000 for two additional years of concept development.

Bugga's concept is titled "Venus Interior Probe Using In-situ Power and Propulsion." 

The India-born scientist, who has a Ph.D. in electrochemistry from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, is currently involved in the development of low temperature lithium-ion rechargeable batteries and in the ultra-low temperature Li primary batteries for Mars probes. 

He leads a task force responsible for demonstrating the technology readiness of lithium-ion batteries for Mars missions.

Bugga was the task manager for the Mars Exploration Rover Thermal, Rover and Lander batteries. 

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