Who's Who at NASA

Douglas A. Comstock, Director, NASA’s Innovative Partnerships Program (IPP)

NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC NASA’s IPP provides leveraged technology for NASA's mission directorates, programs, and projects through investments and technology partnerships with industry, academia, government agencies, and national laboratories. As IPP Director, Doug Comstock also is responsible for directing the IPP portfolio of technology investments and partnering mechanisms, including Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR), Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR), the Centennial Challenges, and the Innovative Partnerships Seed Fund. He also is responsible for intellectual property management and technology transfer that provides benefits to society from the nation's investment in NASA's space and aeronautics missions.

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Jing Li, Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

NASA recently tested the Nano ChemSensor, the first nanotechnology- based electronic device to fly in space. The test showed that the sensor could monitor trace gases inside a spaceship. This technology could lead to smaller, more capable environmental monitors and smoke detectors in future crew habitats. Jing Li, a NASA Ames scientist, is the principal investigator for the test.

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Karen Whitley, Expandable Structures for Exploration Task Lead

NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA Karen WhitleyNASA plans to return to the Moon by 2020. For a sustained lunar presence, however, astronauts need habitats that can support them and their experments. To this end, researchers at NASA Langley, working with NASA contractor ILC Dover (Frederica, DE), are developing the “planetary surface habitat and airlock unit,” a prototype inflatable structure that could be deployed on the lunar surface. Karen Whitley is the project lead.

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Dr. Richard Boyle, Director, BioVIS Technology Center

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA Dr. Richard BoyleMedical imaging technology has led to quicker diagnoses of conditions that, when caught early, can be treated. However, because such devices are large, they are impractical in the limited area of a space vehicle. An on-going NASA project to address the issue involves image fusion, where in-orbit ultrasounds would be combined with previously done Earth-bound scans that are more informative. Dr. Richard Boyle is the principal investigator.

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Leslie Molzahn, Operations Engineer, Dryden Space Flight Center, Edwards, CA

Leslie MolzahnSupersonic speed would allow travelers to cut significantly their travel time. However, because of the resulting sonic booms, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and similar associations restrict supersonic travel to transoceanic only. Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. (Savannah, GA) partnered with NASA Dryden in a commercial investigation of the Quiet Spike, a sonic-boom suppression system. Leslie Molzahn was part of Dryden’s investigative team

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Dr. Karen Jackson, Aerospace Engineer, Landing and Impact Research (LandIR) Facility

NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA Dr. Karen JacksonIn a crash, keeping the occupants alive and uninjured is paramount. In order to study the dynamics of an impact, military and general aviation aircraft, like cars, must be tested for their ability to keep their riders safe. A part of Structural Dynamics Branch in the Research and Technology Directorate at NASA Langley, the Landing and Impact Research Facility (LandIR) tests aircraft by crashing them. Dr. Karen Jackson is part of the research team.

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Julia W. Loftis, Associate Chief for Information Systems Technology

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD Julia W. LoftisWhile a single, peer-to-peer rover can cover a large territory and gather a wealth of information, an entire fleet of rovers could cover even more ground. However, controlling multiple platforms poses a much different set of criteria. To answer the need to control and communicate with multiple vehicles doing a similar task, the Adaptive Sensor Fleet (ASF) software was developed by NASA researchers, and is able to coordinate several platforms at once. Julia Loftis oversaw the strategic planning of the project.

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