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
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New Lubricants Protect Machines and the Environment

The Mobile Launcher Platform at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is a two-story steel structure that provides a transportable launch base for the space shuttle. The main body of the platform is 160 feet long, 135 feet wide, and 25 feet high. When completely unloaded, the platform weighs about 8 million pounds. When it is carrying the weight of an unfueled space shuttle, it weighs about 11 million pounds.

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Advanced Systems Map, Monitor, and Manage Earth’s Resources

A “revolution in remote sensing” took place in the mid-1980s, when Dr. Alexander F.H. Goetz and his colleagues at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed a powerful instrument called AVIRIS (Airborne Visible InfraRed Imaging Spectrometer), according to Dr. Nicholas Short, author of NASA’s online Remote Sensing Tutorial. AVIRIS extended the capabilities of ground-based spectrometers, enabling the spectrum-detecting instruments to be used in the air on moving platforms.

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Sensor Network Provides Environmental Data

The National Biocomputation Center is a joint partnership between the Stanford University School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery and NASA’s Ames Research Center. Founded in 1997, the goal of the Biocomputation Center has been to develop advanced technologies for medicine. Researchers at this center apply 3-D imaging and visualization technologies for biomedical and educational purposes, as well as support NASA’s mission for human exploration and development of space. It is the test bed for much of NASA’s advanced telemedicine research.

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Voltage Controller Saves Energy, Prolongs Life of Motors

In the late 1970s, Frank Nola, an engineer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, had an idea for reducing energy waste in small induction motors. The idea, a method to electronically adjust the voltage in accordance with the motor’s load, was patented in 1984. The voltage controllers have become known as Nola devices, and they are still as useful today as they were more than 20 years ago, as they can be applied anywhere an AC induction motor is being used at a constant speed but with a variable load. These have the ability to save operators a great deal of energy when the motor is lightly loaded, which translates into savings in cost and resources.

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Treatment Prevents Corrosion in Steel and Concrete Structures

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is located on prime beachfront property along the Atlantic coast of Florida on Cape Canaveral. While beautiful, this region presents several challenges, like temperamental coastal weather, lightning storms, and salty, corrosive, sea breezes assaulting equipment and the Center’s launch pads. The constant barrage of salty water subjects facility structures to a type of weathering called spalling, a common form of corrosion seen in porous building materials such as brick, natural stone, tiles, and concrete. In spalling, water carries dissolved salt through the building material, where it then crystallizes near the surface as the water evaporates. As the salt crystals expand, this creates stresses which break away chips, or spall, from the surface, causing unsightly and structural damage.

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Optics Program Simplifies Analysis and Design

Future spaceborne astronomy missions will require telescopes with increasingly greater power, driving the dimensions of the optics and their housing structures to significantly greater sizes.

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Hybrid Modeling Improves Health and Performance Monitoring

Scientists and engineers have long used computers to model physical systems. Physical modeling is a major part of design and development processes, as well as failure analysis. At NASA, scientists and engineers rely heavily on physical modeling to evaluate the overall health and performance of all mission-related flight vehicles.

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