Nasa Tech Briefs

Mars Science Laboratory ChemCam Sun Safety

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) ChemCam instrument can be damaged when the Sun enters or passes through its field of view (FOV). There is no Sun cover, yet other instruments mounted with boresights pointing in the same direction must observe the Sun for scientific observations and for attitude determination. When in a Suntolerant focus range during rover motion and pointing for observations by other remote sensing instruments, the Sun must be allowed to pass through the ChemCam FOV, and when in a Sun-damage focus range for ChemCam observations, the Sun must never be allowed to enter the FOV, even after a rover system fault. Both of these scenarios depend upon knowledge of the attitude of the rover relative to the motion of the Sun. A Sun search that is guaranteed to be Sun-safe for the ChemCam, even when the location of the Sun is unknown, had to be developed.

Posted in: Briefs, Instrumentation, Attitude control, Optics, Sun and solar

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Fabricating Optical Mirrors for Use in Outer Space Measurements

There are many ways to manufacture an optic depending on the complexity of the component and the application. From choosing the best substrate, to detailing the numerous operations required to make the optic, all the while considering tight tolerances and other specifications. This article highlights the precision needed to successfully fabricate the mirrors for the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment’s (HETDEX’s) Visible Integral Field Replicable Unit Spectrographs (VIRUS) unit which was designed to measure dark energy in outer space.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Optics, Measuring Instruments, Mirrors, Measurements, Fabrication

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High-Speed Cameras Help Digital Image Correlation Show Its Strength

Digital Image Correlation (DIC) using high-speed cameras is gaining in popularity as a method for measuring material deformation and strain. That popularity is based on some real advantages of DIC over traditional sensors, and supported by advances in camera capabilities, integrator software, and new measurement techniques.

Posted in: White Papers, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Physical Sciences, Test & Measurement

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Diffuse Reflectance Probe

The Ocean Optics (Dunedin, FL) Diffuse Reflectance Probe (DR-Probe) measures 45° diffuse reflectance, enhancing UV-Vis and NIR spectroscopy results. The DR-Probe integrates a light source and collection optics into one unit. With the probe’s collection optics fixed in place relative to the light source, the measurement geometry is constant. An included standoff accessory ensures a consistent 40 mm focal length between the probe and the sample. The DR-Probe has rugged, all-metal construction for durability, and its 6W tungsten halogen bulb has a 10,000-hour lifetime.To learn more, click here

Posted in: Products, Optics, Photonics, Instrumentation

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Signal Source Challenges Facing Quantum Computing and Research

Today there is a huge rush to explore quantum phenomena and develop technologies based on quantum physics. These technologies range from quantum computing to new communications schemes and have the potential to revolutionize the world. In developing these technologies, there are common challenges facing researchers who are using signal sources to stimulate, measure, and get feedback from their quantum experiments.

Posted in: On-Demand Webinars, Test & Measurement

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How to Make Low Flow Measurements Using Turbine Flow Meters

Accurate low flow measurement represents significant challenges in many applications. Some typical low flow applications in the aerospace market include: small UAV fuel consumption, satellite thruster fuel consumption, and fuel/chemical/water injection. The low dynamic energy associated with flow rates down to 0.001 GPM exceed the capabilities of most mechanical flow meters and force the use of less accurate flow meter technologies.

Posted in: White Papers, Mechanical Components, Data Acquisition, Sensors, Instrumentation

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High-Resolution Surface Measurement

Inspectors who are assessing the severity of defects and the dimensions of small features on precision machined surfaces are limited by the capabilities of existing measurement techniques. A new type of instrument has been developed that enables direct, non-contact inspection of precision surfaces in shop floor environments. By combining the resolution of optical techniques with the portability of a handheld gauge, the new technology gives inspectors an important tool for finding and quantifying critical features on machined components.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Test & Measurement, Measurements, Fiber optics, Tools and equipment, Inspections

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