NASA, like every organisation in the world today, has been hit by the recession, which effectively means big budget cuts.

The US Congress House Committee on Science and Technology held hearings to examine the summary report of the Review of US Human Space Flight Plans Committee.

It was told "Human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit is not viable under the FY 2010 budget guideline".

If further manned exploration of the moon and beyond is significantly delayed or nixed altogether, what does that mean for the myriad technologies NASA already has in development?

Here we take a look at some of the best NASA technology currently in development that might never get to space.

What about the Network?

In a white paper issued last autumn, NASA said its sophisticated Deep Space Network will be modified to meet new performance and interoperability requirements for its planned moon shots.

NASA stated: "A small constellation of Lunar Relay Satellites (LRS) will be placed into orbits with long-term stability that provide periodic coverage of the entire surface of the Moon as well as Low Lunar Orbit (LLO)."

NASA said the interplanetary internet must be tough enough to withstand delays, disruptions and disconnections in space.
Glitches can happen when a spacecraft moves behind a planet, or when solar storms and long communication delays occur.

Inflatable lunar habitat

One of several prototypes NASA reportedly has been working on to house astronauts on the moon, the system that has been most thoroughly tested looks something like an inflatable backyard bounce house for children, but it is far more sophisticated.

It is insulated and heated, has power and is pressurised. It offers 384 square feet of living space and has, at its highest point, an 8 foot ceiling.

During the test period, sensors will allow engineers to monitor the habitat's performance, NASA said.

NEXT PAGE: ROxygen and Robots

  1. These inventions might never see the light of day thanks to budget constraints
  2. ROxygen and Robots
  3. Moon rocket and flat tyres
  4. Firewalls and mixing balloons and parachutes
  5. Lunar electric rover and heavy lifting