Application Briefs

Data Management Speeds Up Simulation of Crash Test Dummy Models

The idea for the automotive crash test dummy first came to life in the 1950s when U.S. Air Force flight surgeon Col. John Stapp realized that more of his fighter pilots were dying in car crashes than from accidents in their hi-tech jet aircraft. The Stapp Car Crash Conferences started that decade and continue today as a venue to share information on the latest research and advancements for improving vehicle crashworthiness and occupant safety.

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Electro-Hydraulic Motion Controller for Earthquake Simulation

How do you test the behavior of different soil structures in an earthquake? Obviously, large earthquakes don’t happen often, and they certainly don’t happen on cue. The solution, of course, is to model earthquakes in a laboratory environment. And that’s exactly what is being done by the Center for Geotechnical Modeling at the University of California, Davis. Since it’s not economical to simulate the forces of an earthquake on fullsize soil structures such as one would find beneath a real bridge or large building, physical models of much smaller size are used. In Figure 1, for example, is a model of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit transbay tube that was recently tested in Davis1.

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Managing a Network of Self-Encrypting Hard Drives

With high-profile data breaches making headlines regularly, organizations are carefully evaluating their options for protecting mobile data. For years, software full disk encryption, (FDE), has been the preferred means of addressing this threat. But widespread adoption has been hampered by the complexity and cost surrounding these software-based FDE deployments.

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Design Data Management Keeps Rover Circuit Boards in Check

Design data management system DKB Resources Santa Barbara, CA 805-963-8709 www.dkbresources.comNASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) contracted DKB Resources to support the design of many of the printed circuit boards (PCBs) on the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity using the company’s automated design data management system that tracks and streamlines communications among all the groups responsible for the PCBs. DKB also provided PCBs for the Phoenix Mars surface probe that landed in 2008, and the Curiosity Rover in the forthcoming Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Program.

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Lightning Monitoring System Helps Protect Shuttle

Genesis HighSpeed data acquisition products HBM Marlborough, MA 800-578-4260 www.hbm.com/highspeedIn order to protect the space shuttle from lightning strikes while it is outside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), being transported to the launch pad, and while on the pad waiting to launch, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center employs a lightning protection system that measures induced currents and voltages at multiple points using sensors surrounding the shuttle. The system consists of a metal lightning rod on top of the launch pad that intercepts nearby lightning, and a series of metal wires attached to the lightning rod that route electricity away from the shuttle.

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Deformable Mirrors Key to Advancement of Space Imaging Research

MEMS-based deformable mirrors Boston Micromachines Corp. Cambridge, MA 617-868-4178 www.bostonmicromachines.comBoston Micromachines has been selected by NASA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program to integrate its MEMS-based deformable mirrors (DMs) into two Phase 1 space imaging research projects. For the first project, the company will collaborate with Boston University to develop a compact, ultra-low-power, high-voltage multiplexed driver suitable for integration with DMs in space-based wavefront control applications. This project will yield a driver that produces a minimum hundred-fold reduction in power consumption and a ten-fold reduction in size, but still maintains high precision and decreases cost interconnection complexity.

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Simulation Software Helps Phoenix Mission Interpret Data From Mars

ANSYS® fluid dynamics software ANSYS Canonsburg, PA 724-746-3304 www.ansys.comANSYS fluid dynamics software has helped researchers at the University of Alberta interpret weather data received from NASA’s Phoenix Mars lander. Using this software, researchers created a virtual environment of the planet’s atmospheric conditions, and discovered that under certain wind conditions, heat emitted from the lander could cause a temperature sensor to show higher-than-atmospheric values. The researchers also learned that other conditions such as obstacles upstream from velocity and pressure sensors could alter readings of wind magnitude and direction. Using these findings, the team specially calibrated the meteorological instruments through a large parametric study before the launch. After Phoenix touched down on Mars, the team carefully evaluated raw mission data by paying particular attention to the types of wind conditions that had produced tainted data in the simulations.

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