Application Briefs

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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Rugged-Duty Actuator Enhances State-of-the-Art Pool/Spa Lift

The benefits of aquatic physical therapy and rehabilitation for those who have difficulty with weightbearing activities due to arthritis or injury, or those who are overweight, have long been known. There is also a significant population of wheelchairbound and disabled persons who use pools and spas for recreation or therapeutic purposes. A dilemma for these individuals is how to get in and out of the pool or spa safely.

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Monitoring Carbon Composite Structures With Optical Fiber Sensors

Fiber reinforced polymer composites are revolutionizing the design of large, high-performance structures in the aerospace, marine and power generation industries due to their advantages in areas such as corrosion resistance, specific strength and tailorability. The use of carbon fiber reinforced composites, the most common and lightest of the “non-exotic” composite materials, is now very widespread. The maiden flight of The Boeing Company’s new 787 Dreamliner, the first commercial aircraft to use composites for most of its construction in December of 2009, is a stark example of just how far carbon fiber composite materials have come in the last 50 years: from hockey sticks, tennis rackets and R&D labs, to carrying us from here to there at 500+ mph.

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