Articles

NASA and Industry Create Mid-Infrared Detector

NASA Goddard scientist Xiaoli Sun and his industry partner, DRS Technologies (Dallas, TX), have created the world’s first photon-counting detector sensitive to the mid-infrared wavelength bands — a spectral sweet spot for a number of remote-sensing applications, including the detection of greenhouse gases on Earth, Mars, and other planetary bodies as well as ice and frost on comets, asteroids, and the Moon.

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A Tale of Tails

Tests were conducted recently by Boeing and NASA to answer the question: What if reducing the size of an aircraft’s tail could lead to more efficient air travel? The tests, focused on a technology called active flow control, are part of the Boeing ecoDemonstrator program. Active flow control is a technology that could result in a tail that is 17% smaller. This would reduce drag by about 0.5%, and would also reduce the tail’s weight, both of which cut an airplane’s fuel use and carbon emissions.

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Editor's Choice: August 2015

NASA is developing the next generation of radiators using a composite that combines low density, high thermal conductivity, and high strength. A scalable process was developed that incorporates nanoparticles into magnesium that forms a high-strength, high-thermal-conductivity nanocomposite. Other applications for this technology are consumer electronics, automobile components such as brake systems, drill bits, mining equipment, and corrosion-resistant coatings. Click HERE to find out more.

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Custom 3D Printers Revolutionize the Space Supply Chain

Additive manufacturing technology could enable future astronauts to build any part or piece needed on long-duration missions. A spaceflight crew has to bring with it everything it will need over the course of its journey. In space travel, not only is payload capacity at a premium, but objects carried into space also must be made to withstand the g-force and jarring vibrations of liftoff.

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Physicist Develops New Laser Technique to Study Electronic Properties

It’s often said that necessity is the mother of invention. Such was the case for Ames Laboratory physicist Adam Kaminski who took a challenge he was facing and turned it into a new solution that will help advance his research. 

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Theory Turns into Reality for Nonlinear Optical Metamaterials

A research team has realized one of the long-standing theoretical predictions in nonlinear optical metamaterials: creation of a nonlinear material that has opposite refractive indices at the fundamental and harmonic frequencies of light. Such a material, which doesn’t exist naturally, had been predicted for nearly a decade.

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IonoSTAGE Ensures Accuracy of Pilots’ GPS

FAA software relies on NASA-developed programs to help pilots avoid ionospheric storms. To permit safe and reliable aircraft navigation over North America using the Global Positioning System (GPS), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has developed the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), which improves the accuracy, availability, continuity, and integrity of GPS positioning enough to ensure its safe use by pilots to determine their locations. The early development of WAAS relied on software developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); particularly, the GPS-Inferred Positioning System (GIPSY) and the Global Ionospheric Mapping (GIM) software packages. More recently, the continued development of WAAS has relied on companion software also developed at JPL. The SuperTruth and IonoSTAGE packages allow the system to address the threat to accurate positioning posed by code delays and phase advances due to refraction in Earth’s ionosphere.

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