Special Coverage

Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications
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
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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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Design Application Translates 2-D Graphics to 3-D Surfaces

When it comes to solving some of NASA’s most challenging technical problems, the mathematical minds that make up the Computational Sciences Branch at NASA’s Glenn Research Center are ready and waiting to crunch some numbers. Calculating complex algorithms and mathematical equations like it’s child’s play, the group has worked out many technical issues for NASA over the years.

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Software Sharing Enables Smarter Content Management

As NASA’s leading organization for information sciences, the Intelligent Systems Division at Ames Research Center conducts world-class computational research to enable out-of-this-world capabilities. In particular, this division is dedicated to ushering in a new era of autonomous spacecraft and robotic exploration, as well as extending abilities in space through human-computer interactions and data analysis.

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Engineering Software Suite Validates System Design

Design errors are costly. When it comes to creating complex systems for aerospace design and testing system readiness, engineering system requirements must be clearly defined, and these systems need to be tested to ensure accuracy, consistency, and safety. Testing a system, however, can require as much as 50 to 70 percent of the total design cycle time. The ability to identify potential problems early in the design cycle saves time and expense, while still ensuring safe and reliable systems. This type of research is of interest not only to the NASA Ames Research Center’s Robust Software Engineering group, but to government agencies and industry, any sectors which build critical, expensive systems, such as control software for an aircraft or the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System’s command and coPartnershipntrol system.

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Open-Lattice Composite Design Strengthens Structures

NASA has invested considerable time and energy working with academia and private industry to develop new composite structures that are capable of standing up to the extreme conditions of space. Over time, such technology has evolved from traditional monocoque designs, in which the skin of a metal structure absorbs the majority of stress the structure is subjected to, to more complex, geometric designs that not only offer strength to counteract stress loads, but also add flexibility.

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