NASA Tech Needs

Naturally Derived Chemicals Exhibiting Pesticidal Effects

A company seeks biorational approaches to new pesticides. “Biorational” approaches include processes, organisms, or chemistries that occur spontaneously in nature. By isolating these substances, a biorational pesticide may be created. These naturally derived (or synthesized products resembling parent molecules of a natural origin) will have unique modes of action, are environmentally benign, and have commercially acceptable levels of control on specific target species such as weeds, insects, fungi, nematodes, and other crop pests.

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Natural Ingredients for Foods That Improve Insulin Sensitivity

Healthy people and pre-diabetic individuals may have a reduced sensitivity (or resistance) to insulin. A company seeks natural ingredients that can be added to foods that will enhance the body’s sensitivity to insulin, and help maintain post-absorptive blood glucose control at a healthy level. The company is looking for ways to decrease the incidence of risk factors for diabetes (such as impaired fasting glucose) by locating natural edible compounds or extracts that improve insulin sensitivity.

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Indoor Air Quality Improvements

A company wants to decrease the frequency and severity of respiratory illness in homes with adults, teens, and children. Affordable indoor air quality improvement solutions must be provided to consumers via an air purification device. The client seeks a third-party partner who can offer a currently commercialized/ available air purifier. The pollutants that must be removed from indoor air include particulates, sulfuric acid, ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds.

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Air and Moisture Removal Within Closed Containers

Many types of food spoilage are slowed when air and moisture are removed from around the food. Current removal solutions, however, are expensive, take up too much space, and require complicated processes. A new technology must remove air and moisture with the single push of a button. Any proposed device should be incorporated into the container. A previously attempted solution included a countertop appliance that, using a vacuum, sealed a bag with heat.

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NASA Medical Capabilities for Space Missions

Ensuring the health, safety, and effective performance of astronauts is critical to the human exploration of space. During missions to the Moon, Mars, or asteroids, crewmembers must have access to advanced medical technologies and protocols to prevent health problems, diagnose disease, treat injuries, and minimize illnesses that may occur in the course of a mission. The Human Research Program (HRP) at Glenn Research Center (Glenn) is seeking government, university, or industry partners to develop medical capabilities that can help to secure the health and safety of astronauts during space missions.

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Increased Steel Surface Friction

An organization seeks innovative processes or coatings for steel. The application requires that a normal force be applied between two lubricated steel surfaces. Excessive normal force results in system power losses and increase in wear; the desired solution will permanently increase the coefficient of friction so that the normal force can be minimized. Solutions could be based around altering or hardening the surface of the steel, or applying a coating to the steel or another material.

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Halogen-Free Fire Retardants

A company must achieve standard, non-halogenated fire retardancy on cabling. Methods may include plastic compounds, coatings, polymers, or additives. The UL tests define the fire-retardant properties that the cable must exhibit after treatment — notably, ignition resistance, flame spread resistance after ignition, elimination of burn drips after ignition, low peak smoke release rate, and low total smoke released.

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Long-Term Data Acquisition, Command, and Control of Spaceflight-Quality Laser Systems

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is a leader in developing satellite-based laser technology for remote sensing measurements of the Earth and other planetary bodies. Laser performance for such missions must be highly efficient and stable over long periods of time in order to successfully accomplish the desired science goals of these missions. It is therefore critical to be able to measure and control multiple laser input and output parameters simultaneously and accurately over a period of time that significantly reduces risk.

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Manufacturing Methods to Deposit Inorganic Material Layers on Metal Substrates

A company seeks alternative ways of preparing crucibles for the vapor deposition process. Currently, up to a kilogram of an alkalihalide salt is melted electrically in a tantalum crucible within a vacuum chamber, and the vapor is deposited on a metal substrate. The resistance, conductivity, and heating patterns of each crucible — and the vapor cloud it produces — vary from crucible to crucible. The pattern of the cloud changes over time as crucibles age. A thick layer of an inorganic salt — between 400 and 500 micrometers — must be deposited on a metal substrate with microscopic evenness and regularity.

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At-Home Medical Diagnostic and Monitoring Technologies

New home-use and point-of-care diagnostic medical technologies are needed. The diagnostics kits should monitor diseases not easily measured. Testing may be done within the device, or the device may be a tethered testing head that reports to a central diagnostics facility. The product can be tethered via phone, cell phone, or Internet, for example. A sample may also be prepared by the device and physically delivered to a central testing service. Areas of interest include cardiac, cholesterol, digestive health, lung function, osteoporosis, and progressive neuropathy.

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