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Spinal Ultrasound Just-in-Time Training Tool

This software facilitates ultrasound imaging of the cervical and lumbar spine by crewmembers in-flight. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Back pain and injury are recognized risks that can affect the well-being and performance of crewmembers during missions, as well as their long-term health. Spine elongation is a documented effect of microgravity, back pain is a common occurrence in early flight, and the post-flight incidence of spinal injury is higher than the population average. These observations suggest that spinal unloading results in a transition to a new set point for the spine, and causes discomfort and an increased risk of injury.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Photonics

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Wide-Spectrum Organic Mass Spectrometer Using Far-Ultraviolet Ionization

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Two-step laser desorption/photoionization mass spectrometry (L2MS) represents a powerful tool for the organic analysis of astromaterials. The technique has high sensitivity and requires little to no sample preparation.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Photonics

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Products of Tomorrow: January 2016

The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just some of the examples of NASA-developed technology used in products today.

Posted in: Articles, Products

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Next-Generation Electronics Innovations for NASA’s Space and Commercial Future

In 1964, NASA’s Electronics Research Center (ERC) opened in Massachusetts, serving to develop the space agency’s in-house expertise in electronics during the Apollo era. The center’s accomplishments include development of a high-frequency (30-GHz) oscillator, a miniaturized tunnel-diode transducer, and a transistor more tolerant of space radiation. Another development was in the area of holography. At the ERC, holography was “used for data storage, and has permitted a remarkable degree of data compression in the storing of star patterns.”

Posted in: Articles, Electronics

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Editor's Choice: January 2016

A miniature, low-mass vehicle is driven by a piezoelectric stack that generates ultrasonic vibrations that are transmitted through the vehicle walls. This eliminates the need to use gears or bearings, and avoids shafts or cabling through the vehicle wall. The transferred power can be used to activate sensors, and the motors are also selfbraking. The vehicle wheels or legs can be driven through the vehicle wall without perforating the structure, which is critical in harsh environments. Find out more HERE.

Posted in: UpFront

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NASA Tech Briefs Turns 40!

Join the party as we celebrate our 40th birthday this year with a special contest! How have you benefited from reading NASA Tech Briefs? Has the magazine helped you with a product design, a product introduction, a technology advancement, saved you time or money, or even advanced your career? Here’s a chance for you to tell us your story.

Posted in: UpFront

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Supercomputers Help NASA Understand Booster Separation

NASA’s new heavy-lift launch vehicle, the Space Launch System (SLS), will carry three times the payload of the space shuttle, requiring innovative rocket design. The SLS configuration consists of a center core stage with four RS-25 engines and two solid rocket boosters (SRBs) that separate from the core as fuel is exhausted soon after liftoff.

Posted in: UpFront

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