Microgravity Drill and Anchor System

This system has applications in rock-climbing and cave exploration, as well as in drilling into rock on the sea floor. This work is a method to drill into a rock surface regardless of the gravitational field or orientation. The required weight-on-bit (WOB) is supplied by a self-contained anchoring mechanism. The system includes a rotary percussive coring drill, forming a complete sampling instrument usable by robot or human. This method of in situ sample acquisition using microspine anchoring technology enables several NASA mission concepts not currently possible with existing technology, including sampling from consolidated rock on asteroids, providing a bolt network for astronauts visiting a near-Earth asteroid, and sampling from the ceilings or vertical walls of lava tubes and cliff faces on Mars.

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Miga Aero Actuator and 2D Machined Mechanical Binary Latch

Applications include automobiles and deadbolts for windows or doors. Shape memory alloy (SMA) actuators provide the highest force-to-weight ratio of any known actuator. They can be designed for a wide variety of form factors from flat, thin packages, to formmatching packages for existing actuators. SMA actuators can be operated many thousands of times, so that ground testing is possible. Actuation speed can be accurately controlled from milliseconds to position and hold, and even electronic velocity-profile control is possible. SMA actuators provide a high degree of operational flexibility, and are truly smart actuators capable of being accurately controlled by onboard microprocessors across a wide range of voltages.

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Granular Media-Based Tunable Passive Vibration Suppressor

Potential applications include vehicle shock absorbers, earthquake protection systems, and explosion protection systems. A complete, tested, and tunable shock and vibration suppression device is composed of statically compressed chains of spherical particles. The device superimposes a combination of dissipative damping and dispersive effects. The dissipative damping resulting from the elastic wave attenuation properties of the bulk material selected for the granular media is independent of particle geometry and periodicity, and can be accordingly designed based on the dissipative (or viscoelastic) properties of the material. For instance, a viscoelastic polymer might be selected where broadband damping is desired. In contrast, the dispersive effects result from the periodic arrangement and geometry of particles composing a linear granular chain. A uniform (monatomic) chain of statically compressed spherical particles will have a low-pass filter effect, with a cutoff frequency tunable as a function of particle mass, elastic modulus, Poisson’s ratio, radius, and static compression. Elastic waves with frequency content above this cutoff frequency will exhibit an exponential decay in amplitude as a function of propagation distance.

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Wells for In Situ Extraction of Volatiles from Regolith (WIEVR)

A document discusses WIEVRs, a means to extract water ice more efficiently than previous approaches. This water may exist in subsurface deposits on the Moon, in many NEOs (Near- Earth Objects), and on Mars. The WIEVR approach utilizes heat from the Sun to vaporize subsurface ice; the water (or other volatile) vapor is transported to a surface collection vessel where it is condensed (and collected). The method does not involve mining and extracting regolith before removing the frozen volatiles, so it uses less energy and is less costly than approaches that require mining of regolith.

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Modular Connector Keying Concept

For panel-mount-type connectors, keying is usually “built-in” to the connector body, necessitating different part numbers for each key arrangement. This is costly for jobs that require small quantities. This invention was driven to provide a cost savings and to reduce documentation of individual parts.

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Genesis Ultrapure Water Megasonic Wafer Spin Cleaner

A device removes, with high precision, the majority of surface particle contamination greater than 1-micron-diameter in size from ultrapure semiconductor wafer materials containing implanted solar wind samples returned by NASA’s Genesis mission. This cleaning device uses a 1.5- liter/minute flowing stream of heated ultrapure water (UPW) with 1-MHz oscillating megasonic pulse energy focused at 3 to 5 mm away from the wafer surface spinning at 1,000 to 10,000 RPM, depending on sample size.

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Folding Elastic Thermal Surface — FETS

The FETS is a light and compact thermal surface (sun shade, IR thermal shield, cover, and/or deployable radiator) that is mounted on a set of offset tape-spring hinges. The thermal surface is constrained during launch and activated in space by a thermomechanical latch such as a wax actuator.

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