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Automated Identification of Nucleotide Sequences

STITCH is a computer program that processes raw nucleotide-sequence data to automatically remove unwanted vector information, perform reverse-complement comparison, stitch shorter sequences together to make longer ones to which the shorter ones presumably belong, and search against the user’s choice of private and Internet-accessible public 16S rRNA databases. [“16S rRNA” denotes a ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) sequence that is common to all organisms.] In STITCH, a template 16S rRNA sequence is used to position forward and reverse reads. STITCH then automatically searches known 16S rRNA sequences in the user’s chosen database(s) to find the sequence most similar to (the sequence that lies at the smallest edit distance from) each spliced sequence.

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Balloon Design Software

PlanetaryBalloon Version 5.0 is a software package for the design of meridionally lobed planetary balloons. It operates in a Windows environment, and programming was done in Visual Basic 6. By including the effects of circular lobes with load tapes, skin mass, hoop and meridional stress, and elasticity in the structural elements, a more accurate balloon shape of practical construction can be determined as well as the room-temperature cut pattern for the gore shapes. The computer algorithm is formulated for sizing meridionally lobed balloons for any generalized atmosphere or planet. This also covers zero-pressure, overpressure, and super-pressure balloons. Low circumferential loads with meridionally reinforced load tapes will produce shapes close to what are known as the “natural shape.”

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Fusing Image Data for Calculating Position of an Object

A computer program has been written for use in maintaining the calibration, with respect to the positions of imaged objects, of a stereoscopic pair of cameras on each of the Mars Explorer Rovers Spirit and Opportunity. The program identifies and locates a known object in the images. The object in question is part of a Mössbauer spectrometer located at the tip of a robot arm, the kinematics of which are known.

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Analysis Method for Quantifying Vehicle Design Goals

A document discusses a method for using Design Structure Matrices (DSM), coupled with high-level tools representing important life-cycle parameters, to comprehensively conceptualize a flight/ground space transportation system design by dealing with such variables as performance, up-front costs, downstream operations costs, and reliability. This approach also weighs operational approaches based on their effect on upstream design variables so that it is possible to readily, yet defensibly, establish linkages between operations and these upstream variables.

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Improved Tracking of Targets by Cameras on a Mars Rover

A paper describes a method devised to increase the robustness and accuracy of tracking of targets by means of three stereoscopic pairs of video cameras on a Mars-rover-type exploratory robotic vehicle. Two of the camera pairs are mounted on a mast that can be adjusted in pan and tilt; the third camera pair is mounted on the main vehicle body. Elements of the method include a mast calibration, a camera-pointing algorithm, and a purely geometric technique for handing off tracking between different camera pairs at critical distances as the rover approaches a target of interest.

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GVIPS Models and Software

Two reports discuss, respectively, (1) the generalized viscoplasticity with potential structure (GVIPS) class of mathematical models and (2) the Constitutive Material Parameter Estimator (COMPARE) computer program. GVIPS models are constructed within a thermodynamics- and potential-based theoretical framework, wherein one uses internal state variables and derives constitutive equations for both the reversible (elastic) and the irreversible (viscoplastic) behaviors of materials. Because of the underlying potential structure, GVIPS models not only capture a variety of material behaviors but also are very computationally efficient.

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Error Rates and Channel Capacities in Multipulse PPM

It is now possible to compare expected performances of candidate modulation schemes. A method of computing channel capacities and error rates in multipulse pulse-position modulation (multipulse PPM) has been developed. The method makes it possible, when designing an optical PPM communication system, to determine whether and under what conditions a given multipulse PPM scheme would be more or less advantageous, relative to other candidate modulation schemes.

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