NASA Tech Needs

Energy Storage Technology to Power the Future in Space Exploration

By Carolyn Mercer, NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH NASA is focused on building a human outpost on the lunar surface. To reach this goal, there is a critical need to develop energy storage technologies to power the future lunar outpost. In particular, technology is required for outpost power generation for the lunar lander that will deliver outpost hardware, and for advanced extravehicular activity (EVA) suits. In every case, human-safe, reliable operation and low mass are critical to ensure the viability of extended stays on the lunar surface while minimizing the launch mass and the mass carried by astronauts and lunar rovers.

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Image Processing for Controlling a Robot or Quality Inspection

A company seeks technologies that may be applicable to automated assembly lines, including a robot to use image processing to select and pick up small parts from a bin using a pin several millimeters in diameter. The image processing technology should be general-purpose and highly versatile to allow the techniques to be applied to many different situations. The required picking speed is several seconds. Possible solution areas are 3D medical imagery and automated surgical equipment. Respond to this TechNeed at: Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

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Reducing Free Fatty Acids in Frying Oil

A food manufacturer is looking for a technology to extend the usability of its frying oils; specifically, technologies to reduce the formation of free fatty acids (FFA) during frying. The company seeks to change or control chemical reaction of hydrolysis without changing water content of the food itself. Taste, smell, color, and texture must not be affected. If the solution is an ingredient, the product must be natural and food-grade; synthesized compounds will not be evaluated. Respond to this TechNeed at: Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

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Centennial Challenges

The NASA Regolith Excavation Cha llenge was held on August 2 and 3 on the campus of the California Poly - technic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. The competition required teams to build a roving excavator that could autonomously navigate, excavate, and transfer 150 kg of simulated lunar regolith (lunar soil) into a collector bin within 30 minutes. Excavating lunar regolith will be an important part of any construction projects or processing of natural resources on the Moon. NASA is looking for new ideas for excavation techniques that do not require excessively heavy machines or large amounts of power.

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Powder Atomization Technology

A company seeks an innovative powder atomization technology, which will produce dense, highly spherical, satellitefree metal powders in the size range 50 to 1000 microns. Coating and surface modification technologies are sought for applications including aerospace, medical, and industrial power generation markets. The atomization process must cost-effectively produce perfect, large, spherical particles. Respond to this TechNeed at: Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

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Wireless Communication for Factory Automation

A company seeks technology that is applicable to automated assembly lines; specifically, a reliable and fast short-range wireless technology that can take the place of wired connections for robots and factory automation equipment. Equipment with appendages in motion, such as robots, is fundamentally different in its wiring requirements from equipment that is static. A possible solution to the abrasion that results from repeated movements is to provide control through wireless communication. Respond to this TechNeed at: Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

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Lunar Science Instrumentation: Understanding and Characterizing the Moon Through Challenging Measurements

NASA lunar robotic science missions support the high-priority goals identified in the 2007 National Research Council report, The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon: Final Report (National Academies Presses, 2007). Future missions will characterize the lunar exosphere and surface environment; field-test new equipment, technologies, and approaches for performing lunar science; identify landing sites and emplace infrastructure to support robotic and human exploration; demonstrate and validate heritage systems for exploration missions; and provide operational experience in the harsh lunar environment.

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