Special Coverage

Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applicationst
Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research
Small Robot Has Outstanding Vertical Agility
Smart Optical Material Characterization System and Method
Lightweight, Flexible Thermal Protection System for Fire Protection
High-Precision Electric Gate for Time-of-Flight Ion Mass Spectrometers
Polyimide Wire Insulation Repair System
Distributed Propulsion Concepts and Superparamagnetic Energy Harvesting Hummingbird Engine

Data Assimilation Cycling for Weather Analysis

This software package runs the atmospheric model MM5 in data assimilation cycling mode to produce an optimized weather analysis, including the ability to insert or adjust a hurricane vortex. The program runs MM5 through a cycle of short forecasts every three hours where the vortex is adjusted to match the observed hurricane location and storm intensity. This technique adjusts the surrounding environment so that the proper steering current and environmental shear are achieved. MM5cycle uses a Cressman analysis to blend observation into model fields to get a more accurate weather analysis. Quality control of observations is also done in every cycle to remove bad data that may contaminate the analysis. This technique can assimilate and propagate data in time from intermittent and infrequent observations while maintaining the atmospheric field in a dynamically balanced state.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences


Activating STAT3 Alpha for Promoting Healing of Neurons

Natural anti-apoptotic, pro-axogenic mechanisms are stimulated artificially. A method of promoting healing of injured or diseased neurons involves pharmacological activation of the STAT3 alpha protein. Usually, injured or diseased neurons heal incompletely or not at all for two reasons: (1) they are susceptible to apoptosis (cell death); and (2) they fail to engage in axogenesis — that is, they fail to re-extend their axons to their original targets (e.g., muscles or other neurons) because of insufficiency of compounds, denoted neurotrophic factors, needed to stimulate such extension. The present method (see figure) of treatment takes advantage of prior research findings to the effect that the STAT3 alpha protein has anti-apoptotic and pro-axogenic properties.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical


Hydrocyclone/Filter for Concentrating Biomarkers From Soil

This apparatus could detect biomarkers or chemical waste in soil. The hydrocyclone- filtration extractor (HFE), now undergoing development, is a simple, robust apparatus for processing large amounts of soil to extract trace amounts of microorganisms, soluble organic compounds, and other biomarkers from soil and to concentrate the extracts in amounts sufficient to enable such traditional assays as cell culturing, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analysis, and isotope analysis. Originally intended for incorporation into a suite of instruments for detecting signs of life on Mars, the HFE could also be used on Earth for similar purposes, including detecting trace amounts of biomarkers or chemical wastes in soils.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Bio-Medical, Medical


Probing a Spray Using Frequency-Analyzed Light Scattering

Intact length and breakup frequency are determined by a relatively simple technique. Frequency-analyzed laser-light scattering (FALLS) is a relatively simple technique that can be used to measure principal characteristics of a sheet of sprayed liquid as it breaks up into ligaments and then the ligaments break up into droplets. In particular, through frequency analysis of laser light scattered from a spray, it is possible to determine whether the laser- illuminated portion of the spray is in the intact-sheet region, the ligament region, or the droplet region. By logical extension, it is possible to determine the intact length from the location of the laser beam at the transition between the intact-sheet and ligament regions and to determine a breakup frequency from the results of the frequency analysis. Hence, FALLS could likely be useful both as a means of performing research on sprays in general and as a means of diagnostic sensing in diverse applications in which liquid fuels are sprayed. Sprays are also used for drying and to deposit paints and other coating materials.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences


Eye On Innovation

Dual-Use InnovationBy Dr. Udo Ungeheuer Chairman of the Board of Management SCHOTT Mainz, Germany Many people consider the printing press developed here in Mainz, Germany, near the headquarters of SCHOTT, the greatest invention of the last 1,000 years. Yet, many of the key technologies that made the development of the press possible were first developed for other, quite different applications. The screw press originally was developed to press grapes and olives for wine and olive oil. The new alloys that Gutenberg developed for moveable typeface were an outgrowth of weapons and armor metallurgy. The oil-based ink used by Gutenberg was developed for paintings, not books.

Posted in: Articles


Dr. Steve Hipskind, Chief, NASA’s Earth Science Division

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA Dr. Steve Hipskind is an expert on climate change and the effects of global warming with over 20 years of experience in atmospheric research. He currently heads up NASA’s Earth Science Division.

Posted in: Who's Who


Compact 6-DOF Stage for Optical Adjustments

Adjustments can be made in all translational and rotational degrees of freedom. The figure depicts selected aspects of a six-degree-of-freedom (6-DOF) stage for mechanical adjustment of an optical component. The six degrees of freedom are translations along the Cartesian axes (x, y, and z) and rotations about these axes (θx, θy, and θz, respectively). Relative to prior such stages, this stage offers advantages of compactness, stability, and robustness, plus other advantages as described below.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components, Mechanics


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