NASA Tech Needs

Rheology Modification for Phase-Inversion Mini-Emulsion Formulation

An organization seeks expertise or technology to modify the viscosity of a mini-emulsion during storage to prevent leakage of the liquid from its container at 35 °C and above. During storage in an ambient-pressure container, the mini-emulsion must maintain a high viscosity so that it does not leak, but it must revert to low viscosity as it leaves the container. Miniemulsion left in the container must continue to remain at high viscosity, even though the container has been opened.

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Cathode Assembly for Molten Regolith Electrolysis

The production of oxygen and metals from off-Earth planetary materials (regolith or rocks) is an important focus area of technology development led by the In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Project. Over the past few years, oxygen production by direct electrolysis of lunar oxides in molten form has achieved major milestones, and is poised as a high-payoff technology for lunar and Martian missions.

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Mitigation of Rupturing LO2 Vent line

Stennis Space Center (SSC) has performed extensive large-scale (200 klbf to 7 Mlbf thrust) rocket engine propulsion testing beginning with the Apollo program, extending through the Shuttle program, and presently supporting ongoing NASA and commercial future launch systems propulsion technology development. Part of the test facility infrastructure to support this testing are LO2 (liquid oxygen or LOX) propellant vent systems that must be able to accommodate a wide range of flow demands to support a broad range of engine testing programs.

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Rendering 3D Simulations from Commercial Geographic Databases

A company needs to quickly and realistically render a 4 × 4 km landscape, complete with accurate roads, buildings, and similar landmarks in accurate colors, based on data from commercially available source databases. Quickly means much faster than the time required for the manual methods used to produce state-of-the-art game landscapes. While photo-realistic fidelity is not required, prominent structures, roads, and other features need to be reproduced as faithfully as possible from the data in terms of position, color, and relationship to each other.

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Lightweight Material as a Replacement for Steel Containers

An organization seeks a low-weight material that can replace the heavy weight of steel, but withstand the physical and chemical demands of automotive applications. The alternative material can withstand a high-pressure fluid environment and replace steel used in hydraulic accumulators. The material must be inexpensive and must be able to be produced into final component shapes using a cost-effective process that can lend itself to the high-volume, low-cost demands of the automotive market.

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Carbon Nanotubes for Stray Light Suppression

Bright light from sources such as the Earth or bright stars is scattered on surfaces of scientific instruments and creates noise in scientific observations. All scientific instruments have baffles, stops, and other components that are used to reduce the amount of stray light that decreases signal to noise. The use of an improved material on these components can decrease the number of control measures to simplify design. For Earth-viewing instruments, a significant fraction of the data collected is unusable due to contamination of imagery because of scattering of light from high-contrast regions to dim regions such as ice/water or cloud/water scene boundaries. Lastly, viewing dim companions to bright stars requires extraordinary reduction in scattered light to allow imaging.

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Cooling of a Self-Contained Portable HSDAS Unit

John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC) provides rocket engine propulsion testing for NASA’s space programs. There are occasions when it would be useful to have a portable, mobile data acquisition system that could easily be set up as needed within our facilities’ hydrogen environment, and that could be employed quickly to economically support projects and anomaly investigations. Therefore, a project to develop a Self-Contained Portable High-Speed Data Acquisition System (HSDAS) Unit that will let NASA take advantage of recent advancements in computer technologies throughout ground propulsion test facilities without rebuilding existing systems is under consideration. This unit would be a practical, field-deployable tool that can be set up quickly, and it would be employed for acquiring data for addressing issues that suddenly arise.

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NASA Planetary Balloon Technology Needs

Innovations in materials, structures, and systems concepts have enabled buoyant vehicles to play an expanding role in planning NASA’s future Solar System Exploration Program. Balloons and aerobots containing science instruments can cover large distances in short periods of time, and obtain science data from otherwise inaccessible locations. Key planetary exploration targets of interest include Saturn’s moon Titan, and the planet Venus.

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Improving Reliability of Atmosphere Revitalization Technologies

Atmosphere revitalization (AR) systems control carbon dioxide, humidity, and trace chemical contaminant levels in a crewed spacecraft cabin atmosphere to provide a safe, habitable environment for people to live and work. Most spacecraft AR systems to date have used fixed beds of pelletized or granular adsorbents such as zeolites and activated carbon, as well as oxidation catalysts and tailored chemisorbents that react with targeted chemical compounds. Onboard the International Space Station (ISS), zeolites are used to dehumidify AR system process streams using a “water-save” approach, as well as to remove carbon dioxide. Activated carbon is used to remove ammonia and other trace chemical contaminants from the cabin atmosphere. An oxidation catalyst is used to convert carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons such as methane, formaldehyde, and light alcohols to carbon dioxide and water that are easily removed. All of these materials are in granular or pelletized form and contained in fixed beds through which cabin atmosphere is circulated.

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Treatment System to Enable Re-Use of Waste Water

An organization seeks a low-cost way to render dirty, contaminant-filled water clean enough to use for washing or sanitary purposes. The treatment system should reduce dirt particles, lower pH levels, and remove surfactants like linear alkylbenzene sulphonate (LAS). A large water treatment plant solution is not needed; the system should work on water volumes as low as 10 liters.

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