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Anthony Kelley, Lead Flow Research Engineer, Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL

As petroleum prices spiral higher, new technologies are being developed to help keep prices down. The balanced flow meter, technology originally developed by NASA for the space shuttle, promises to ease pain at the pump by being more precise and consuming less power than current metering devices. Leading the project is NASA engineer Anthony Kelly.

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Bill Jackson, Deputy Director, NASA Independent Verification and Validation Facility, Fairmont, WV

Bill Jackson Searching for defects amid several thousand lines of code in mission critical software, NASA’s Independent Verification and Validating Facility (IV&V) was open for business in 1994 as a safeguard against mission failure. Reporting to the Goddard Space Flight Center, the IV&V audits software across NASA (and other government agencies) dealing with several different projects concerning satellites and shuttle mission software. The current Deputy Director, Mr. Jackson was Acting Director of IV&V from January to October of 2006.

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Dr. Simon "Pete" Worden, Center Director, NASA Ames Research, Moffett Field, CA

Before becoming NASA Ames Research Center Director, Dr. Worden was a Research Professor of Astronomy, Optical Sciences, and Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona, where his research involved the development of large space optics for national security and scientific purposes. Dr. Worden retired in 2004 after 29 years of active service in the U.S. Air Force, where he served as a Brigadier General. He is a recognized expert on civil and military space issues, and has authored or co-authored more than 150 scientific technical papers in astrophysics, space sciences, and strategic studies. Dr. Worden also serves as a scientific co-investigator for two NASA space science missions.

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Adding Hierarchical Objects to Relational Database General-Purpose XML-Based Information Managements

NETMARK is a flexible, high-throughput software system for managing, storing, and rapid searching of unstructured and semi-structured documents. NETMARK transforms such documents from their original highly complex, constantly changing, heterogeneous data formats into well structured, common data formats in using Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and/or Extensible Markup Language (XML). The software implements an object-relational database system that combines the best practices of the relational model utilizing Structured Query Language (SQL) with those of the object oriented, semantic database model for creating complex data. In particular, NETMARK takes advantage of the Oracle 8i object-relational database model using physical-address data types for very efficient keyword searches of records across both context and content. NETMARK also supports multiple international standards such as WEBDAV for drag-and-drop file management and SOAP for integrated information management using Web services. The document-organization and -searching capabilities afforded by NETMARK are likely to make this software attractive for use in disciplines as diverse as science, auditing, and law enforcement.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

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Measurement and Controls Data Acquisition System

Measurement and Controls Data Acquisition System (MCDAS) is an application program that integrates the functions of two stand-alone programs: one for acquisition of data, the other for controls.

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2D/3D Visual Tracker for Rover Mast

A visual-tracker computer program controls an articulated mast on a Mars rover to keep a designated feature (a target) in view while the rover drives toward the target, avoiding obstacles. Several prior visual tracker programs have been tested on rover platforms; most require very small and well-estimated motion between consecutive image frames — a requirement that is not realistic for a rover on rough terrain. The present visual-tracker program is designed to handle large image motions that lead to significant changes in feature geometry and photometry between frames. When a point is selected in one of the images acquired from stereoscopic cameras on the mast, a stereo triangulation algorithm computes a three-dimensional (3D) location for the target. As the rover moves, its body-mounted cameras feed images to a visual-odometry algorithm, which tracks two-dimensional (2D) corner features and computes their old and new 3D locations. The algorithm rejects points, the 3D motions of which are inconsistent with a rigid-world constraint, and then computes the apparent change in the rover pose (i.e., translation and rotation). The mast pan and tilt angles needed to keep the target centered in the field-ofview of the cameras (thereby minimizing the area over which the 2D-tracking algorithm must operate) are computed from the estimated change in the rover pose, the 3D position of the target feature, and a model of kinematics of the mast. If the motion between the consecutive frames is still large (i.e., 3D tracking was unsuccessful), an adaptive view-based matching technique is applied to the new image. This technique uses correlation-based template matching, in which a feature template is scaled by the ratio between the depth in the original template and the depth of pixels in the new image. This is repeated over the entire search window and the best correlation results indicate the appropriate match. The program could be a core for building application programs for systems that require coordination of vision and robotic motion.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

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Implementing Access to Data Distributed on Many Processors

A reference architecture is defined for an object-oriented implementation of domains, arrays, and distributions written in the programming language Chapel.

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