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Feature-Identification and Data-Compression Software

A report discusses the continuing development of Windows Interface for Nominal Displacement Selection (WINDS), a computer program for automated analysis of images of the Sun and planets acquired by scientific instruments aboard spacecraft. WINDS is intended to afford capabilities for identification of features, measurement of displacements and velocities, analysis of terrain and of atmospheres, and synthesis of animation sequences of images of terrains and atmospheres from small sets of samples by use of velocity based interpolation. A major element of WINDS will be a nonlinear correlator capable of tracking small features in complex image sequences. For dynamic image sequences, the correlator will enable compression of data by factors >100. In processing image data, WINDS will take account of such factors as texture in image data, rotation of features during measurement intervals, effects of viewing and solar illumination angles, and vertical structures of atmospheres. WINDS will also take account of positions, aiming directions, and fields of view of cameras to determine three-dimensional feature structures by use of triangulation and stereoscopic analysis techniques.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Taumi Daniels, TAMDAR Project Lead, NASA's Langley Research Center,Hampton, VA

Taumi DanielsWeather forecasters in the middle of the United States are making better local predictions for pilots thanks to an airborne sensor being tested by NASA's Aviation Safety Program. Taumi Daniels led the team of researchers at Langley Research Center that designed, built, and equipped dozens of Mesaba Airlines aircraft with the Tropospheric Airborne Meteorological Data Report instrument (TAMDAR) that allows aircraft to automatically sense and report atmospheric conditions. The Georgia Institute of Technology Research Institute, Atlanta, GA, and AirDAT, L.L.C., Morrisville, NC, developed TAMDAR for NASA.

Posted in: Who's Who

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Algorithm Determines Wind Speed and Direction FromVenturi-Sensor Data

Speed and direction are calculated from the spatial distribution of pressure readings. An algorithm computes the velocity of wind from the readings of an instrument like the one described in “Three-Dimensional Venturi Sensor for Measuring Extreme Winds” (KSC-12435), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 27, No. 9 (September 2003), page 32. To recapitulate: The sensor has no moving parts and is a compact, rugged means of measuring wind vectors having magnitudes of as much as 300 mph (134 m/s). The sensor includes a Venturi gap bounded by a curved upper and a curved lower surface that are axisymmetric with respect to a vertical axis and mirror-symmetric with respect to a horizontal midplane. One of the curved surfaces is instrumented with multiple ports for measuring dynamic pressures (see figure). The sensor also incorporates auxiliary sensors for measuring temperature, relative humidity, and static atmospheric pressure.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Carbon-Fiber Brush Heat Exchangers

High thermal conductance between uneven surfaces could be achieved with low clamping force. Velvetlike and brushlike pads of carbon fibers have been proposed for use as mechanically compliant, highly thermally conductive interfaces for transferring heat. A pad of this type would be formed by attaching short carbon fibers to either or both of two objects that one desires to place in thermal contact with each other. The purpose of using a thermal-contact pad of this or any other type is to reduce the thermal resistance of an interface between a heat source (e.g., a module that contains electronic circuitry) and a heat sink (e.g., a common finned heat sink).

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Kim Ballard, Computer Engineer, Electrical Design Branch

NASA's Kennedy Space Center, FL Engineers at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) developed the Laser Scaling and Measurement Device for Photographic Images – a camera attachment that uses laser technology – to assist scientists in determining the exact scale of any damages to the Space Shuttle’s external tank when viewing photographs of the spacecraft on its launch pad. This NASA-developed camera accessory also is being used to "shoot" photos that can precisely measure details of crime scenes. When a picture is taken with the instrument, the image is loaded onto a computer and items are then viewable and measurable on the computer screen. Kim Ballard designed the Microsoft-Word compatible software for the device.

Posted in: Who's Who

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Thermal and Compressed-Air Storage System Provides Alternative to UPS Batteries

Three mature energy-storage technologies are combined in a new system to replace lead-acid batteries. Virtually all businesses and industries are vulnerable to electric power disturbances such as outages, sags, swells, and harmonics. These problems are less of an issue for data centers, protected behind their walls of Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems. But the typical battery-backed UPS is too fragile for use in less protected environments. UPS batteries must be maintained in a narrow temperature range and fail prematurely when subjected to a steady diet of step loads and motor drives. About six years ago, flywheel-based UPS products became commercially available. These devices store energy as rotational inertia, and are rugged enough to survive on the factory floor. However, flywheels have relatively short ride-through energy and are best-suited for use in locations with backup generators.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Dr. Marco Giardino, Chief Technologist, Engineering & Science Directorate

NASA's Stennis Space Center, Mississippi Dr. Marco GiardinoUsing high-tech remote sensing methods, a collection of artifacts has been unearthed at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, MS. The objects uncovered during archeological excavations conducted over the past 11 years were found at the site of the 19th century Hancock County seat on the Pearl River, which is now part of the space center. Dr. Giardino was one of the archeologists involved in the dig.

Posted in: Who's Who

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