Special Coverage


Techs of the Week

A patented, microprocessor-based, anti-collision deceleration warning technology has been developed for motor vehicles. Its simple design provides following drivers with up to 4 seconds of additional warning time of a braking, slowing, or stopping event. The warning system reportedly reduces the risk of rear-end collisions by 60 to 90%. It is easily integrated into a vehicleís existing wiring and rear-light system. Low cost, it costs about $18 per vehicle to implement. Click here for more info.

Posted in: Blog


Improved Readout Scheme for SQUID-Based Thermometry

Flux-unit-counting ambiguities would be eliminated. An improved readout scheme has been proposed for high-resolution thermometers, (HRTs) based on the use of superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs) to measure temperature- dependent magnetic susceptibilities. The proposed scheme would eliminate counting ambiguities that arise in the conventional scheme, while maintaining the superior magnetic-flux sensitivity of the conventional scheme. The proposed scheme is expected to be especially beneficial for HRT-based temperature control of multiplexed SQUID-based bolometer sensor arrays.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs, TSP


System for Thermal Imaging of Hot Moving Objects

This advanced ratio-intensity thermography system has numerous potential uses. The High Altitude/ Re-Entry Vehicle Infrared Imaging (HARVII) system is a portable instrumentation system for tracking and thermal imaging of a possibly distant and moving object. The HARVII is designed specifically for measuring the changing temperature distribution on a space shuttle as it reenters the atmosphere. The HARVII system or other systems based on the design of the HARVII system could also be used for such purposes as determining temperature distributions in fires, on volcanoes, and on surfaces of hot models in wind tunnels. In yet another potential application, the HARVII or a similar system would be used to infer atmospheric pollution levels from images of the Sun acquired at multiple wavelengths over regions of interest.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs, TSP


Flash Diffusivity Technique Applied to Individual Fibers

Inversion of spatially and temporally resolved temperature measurements yields thermal-diffusivity maps. A variant of the flash diffusivity technique has been devised for determining the thermal diffusivities, and thus the thermal conductivities, of individual aligned fibers. The technique is intended especially for application to nanocomposite fibers, made from narrower fibers of polyphenylene benzobisthiazole (PBZT) and carbon nanotubes. These highly aligned nanocomposite fibers could exploit the high thermal conductivities of carbon nanotubes for thermal-management applications.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs


Picosatellite Design Incorporates Thin Aluminum Structure and Self-Clinching Fasteners

A reduced parts count and lower weight are attributable to less fastening-related hardware. The CubeSat standard (10 × 10 × 10 cm and weighing 1kg) has evolved into one of the most widely accepted families of picosatellite designs. A CubeSat can package a universe of payload possibilities for launch into space at a fraction of the cost of traditional multimillion- dollar satellites. The success of any CubeSat project will owe much to how closely participants adhere to unforgiving timelines linked to launches scheduled far in advance. Serving to jumpstart projects and keep them on track within the typical 24 months from inception to launch, Pumpkin, Inc. created an off-the-shelf CubeSat Kit™ offering all the advantages of a standardized assembly. Conforming fully to the recognized CubeSat specification, the kit’s structure, electronics, and software are intended to save time and money.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs


Phase-Oriented Gear Systems

Larger mechanical advantages can be realized in smaller packages. Phase-oriented gear systems are differential planetary transmissions in which each planet gear has two sets of unequal numbers of teeth indexed at prescribed relative angles (phases). The figure illustrates an application of the phase-oriented gearing concept to a relatively simple speed-reducing differential planetary transmission that includes a sun gear, an idler gear, three identical planet gears, a ground internal ring gear, and an output internal ring gear. Typically, the ground internal ring gear and output internal ring gear have different numbers of teeth, giving rise to a progressive and periodic phase shift between the corresponding pairs of teeth engaged by each successive planet gear. To accommodate this phase shift, it is necessary to introduce a compensating phase shift between the groundgear- engaging and output-gear-engaging sections of each planet gear. This is done by individually orienting each planet gear.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Briefs


Distributed Operations Planning

Maestro software provides a secure and distributed mission planning system for long-term missions in general, and the Mars Exploration Rover Mission (MER) specifically. Maestro, the successor to the Science Activity Planner, has a heavy emphasis on portability and distributed operations, and requires no data replication or expensive hardware, instead relying on a set of services functioning on JPL institutional servers.

Posted in: Software, Briefs