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Torque Sensors Provide Force Feedback for Robotic Applications

Torque sensing technology ATI Industrial Automation Apex, NC 919-772-0115 www.ati-ia.com ATI Industrial Automation is developing multi-axis, force/torque sensing technology to be used in space exploration, including future Mars missions. Currently under development, the new technology will enable fabrication of a force/torque sensor for the Mars rover’s robotic arm. Sensor feedback allows the arm to guide its coring tool into rocks, and then safely place the rock samples in the rover’s canisters.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Heat Pipe Assembly Passes NASA Hypersonic Tests

Embedded heat pipe assembly Thermacore Lancaster, PA 717-569-6551 www.thermacore.com A Thermacore heat pipe assembly recently completed testing at the NASA Ames Arc Jet Complex, operating at very high temperatures in a hypersonic leading-edge simulation.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Liquid Flow Sensor Launches into Space

LS16 liquid flow sensor Sensirion Westlake Village, CA 805-409-4900 www.sensirion.com A liquid flow sensor from Sensirion will measure the impact of microgravity on the effectiveness of liquid flow. Among other potential findings, the project aims to shed light on the effects of weightlessness on the circulatory system.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Spacecraft Seat Standards Lead to Comfort in Your Car

NASA standards for optimum neutral body posture in spacecraft have led to ergonomic car seats. In the beginning, safety outweighed comfort in spacecraft designs for human space travel. Capsules like Gemini and Apollo were small, and most of the flight activities were performed while the crew was strapped to their seats. Later, NASA devoted more attention to understanding how a spacecraft could provide comfort as well as safety and function to astronauts. NASA examined the neutral body posture (NBP), or the posture the human body naturally assumes in microgravity.

Posted in: Articles, Spinoff

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Strobing to Mitigate Vibration for Display Legibility

Blur is eliminated with appropriate strobing frequency. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California This method mitigates the motion blur introduced when a display, and/or the operator reading it, is undergoing vibration (e.g. during the launch phase of spaceflight). If both the operator and the display are undergoing vibration, their respective impulses need not be in phase. This mitigation occurs when the display is illuminated at a strobing rate that corresponds with the frequency of the vibration. This can be done either by strobing the ambient illumination in the environment (e.g., if the operator is reading a reflective surface display), or by strobing the display itself (e.g., strobing the LED backlighting of an electronic display).

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Imaging, Briefs

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Imaging Space System Architectures Using a Granular Medium as a Primary Concentrator

Higher-resolution optics provide improved hyperspectral imaging for ocean and land monitoring, as well as exoplanet detection. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Typically, the cost of a space observatory is driven by the size and mass of the primary aperture. Generally, a monolithic aperture is much heavier and complex to fabricate (hence, more costly) than an aperture of the same size but composed of much smaller units. Formation flying technology, as applied to swarm systems in space, is an emerging discipline.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Imaging, Briefs

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Image Processing Method To Determine Dust Optical Density

John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida Image processing techniques for determining dust optical density in Apollo videos have been developed. The software generates histograms, and calculates the mean and standard deviation, which are then used to match dusty and clear images for the purpose of estimating an effective optical density. A dust thickness model, based on the tilt of the camera and increasing thickness of the dust layer towards the top of the image, is used to account for the distance light travels through dust.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Imaging, Briefs

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