Photo Courtesy of NASA

NASA-UC Berkeley partnership includes $2 billion research hub

October 24, 2023

The University of California Berkeley is planning a $2 billion innovation center that will focus on advancing space exploration, aviation, quantum computing, climate studies and social sciences. The facility will be built at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

The planned Berkeley Space Center is a partnership between the university and NASA that will bring together students, academics, government officials and industry experts. It will explore ways to use emerging automation and electrical-propulsion technologies to move cargo, how biotechnology can help deep-space exploration and how to better use NASA’s powerful computers.

Through the partnership, students in Berkeley’s new aerospace engineering program will be able to test drones and unpiloted vehicles — used increasingly for inspection and delivery — in a real-world setting. Researchers will be able to study technologies such as vertical takeoff and landing vehicles (e-VTOLs). Studies on plant growth in space will also be possible.

Additionally, the center will focus on AI and machine learning. For example, the university hopes to train a workforce that can adapt to automation and human-machine interaction. Beyond the physical sciences, Berkeley’s law students will be able to develop guidance for commercial exploitation and laws for conducting business in space.

The campus will also incorporate several initiatives to reduce its carbon impact, including using solar power; retaining, treating and recycling stormwater; and a system that uses plants to filter contaminants, a process called phytoremediation.

UC-Berkley plans to start construction on the 36-acre Berkeley Space Center in 2026. Design plans include 1.4 million square feet of lab, office and educational spaces along with student and faculty housing, a conference center and retail areas.

Ames Research Center is home to the world’s largest wind tunnel and some of NASA’s most-advanced super computers. It is part of NASA’s Research Park in Silicon Valley, which is home to various tech offices, including Google’s Bay View Campus.

Gracie Warhurst

Gracie Warhurst has joined Strategic Partnerships, Inc. as a writer and digital content creator for the new Government Market News portal. With a rich background in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, Warhurst has experience as editor-in-chief of a literary magazine, assistant web editor, and project manager for an AI journalism project. She also contributed as a reporter during the development of SPI's news portal. Warhurst graduated summa cum laude in December 2023 with a Bachelor's in Journalism and a certificate in creative writing, making her a valuable asset to the SPI team.

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