Application Briefs

NASA’s Next Rover Features 3D-Printed Parts

The Desert RATS (Research and Technology Studies) Space Exploration Rover has roamed the Arizona desert, maneuvering the terrain as the wind and temperatures swing from one extreme to another. NASA astronauts and engineers are testdriving the vehicle over rocks, sand, and hills in an environment that simulates Mars’ brutal conditions.

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Motors Power NASA’s Interactive Humanoid Tour Guide

RoboThespian is a programmable, interactive humanoid robot designed to communicate, interact, and entertain. First developed in 2006 by Cornish company Engineered Arts, RoboThespian stands 5'9", with a full range of upper-body movement and human-like eyes. NASA will employ the robot’s third generation as a figurehead — meeting and greeting over 1.5 million visitors per year at its futuristic Cape Canaveral base.

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Data Management to Support Assembly and Integration of Orion

MEI Technologies is part of the ARES Technical Services Corp. team performing work at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston for the Multi- Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) Program Integration Contract. MEI will provide system engineering and integration to support development, assembly, and integration of the Crew and Service Module for the MPCV, known as Orion.

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Thermal Management Technologies Keep Satellite Cool

NASA’s Landsat 8 Earth-observation satellite, part of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM), launched into orbit on February 11, 2013. The satellite is intended to monitor environmental, natural, and manmade changes to the Earth’s surface using two sensitive data-collecting instruments, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS). Throughout the Landsat 8 mission, internal heat generated by the satellite’s electronics must continually be rejected to outer space; maintenance and adjustments are impossible after launch.

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LIDAR System Enables Global Mapping of Carbon Sources

As a step toward taking active global measurements from space, ITT Exelis and NASA Langley Research Center completed a flight campaign that calculated carbon dioxide over various surfaces and conditions.

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Using Adaptive Optics to Perform Deep-Tissue Cell Imaging

In biological imaging, the object of interest is not always in plain sight. This is especially true when performing microscopy of cells buried deep within tissues. The tissues covering the cells tend to bend and scatter the light passing through them, which prevents acquiring sharp images of the cells below. To overcome this, researchers at a leading science campus developed a novel way to use adaptive optics in microscopy.

Posted in: Applications, Photonics, Application Briefs

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Digital Picture Technology Connects Sports Teams with Fans

NASA-developed digital photo technology lets baseball fans enjoy highly detailed panoramic pictures. NASA’s twin Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, remain one of the Agency’s greatest achievements in exploration. On Earth, these robots are best known for their stunning pictures of the Martian landscape. Although the rovers each had a mere 1-megapixel camera, the pictures they have become famous for measure up to 96 megapixels in size. This was made possible by a NASA-built automated tripod that, with the help of photo processing software, seamlessly integrates a series of smaller shots into one large image.

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