NASA Tech Needs

Portable Diagnostic Scanning Systems for Remote Environments

A company seeks miniaturized (less than 50 lbs.) portable equipment to perform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT), X-ray, and other non-ultrasound diagnostic scans. The equipment must produce a minimum of ionizing radiation and is intended for medical care applications by trained, but non-medical personnel in remote environments. Ionizing radiation dose from a typical scan or series of scans should not exceed 50 mRem.

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Printable Electrical Heating Element or Film Bonded to Metal Surface

A firm is seeking materials that can be printed, sprayed, or transferred onto a metal surface (copper, stainless steel, brass, aluminum, nickel, chrome) as a film so that, when connected to a power source, become hot and heat the metal surface to ~400 °F. The heating film or coating may be composed of several layers. The heating element must be >1mm, directly bonded to the metal, and able to withstand multiple heating/cooling cycles without delaminating from the metal surface.

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Parametric Design and Analysis to Support Model-Based Systems Engineering Using SysML

What is commonly called Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) proposes to replace traditional document-centric approaches to systems engineering with model-centric approaches in which the complete definition of the system or product is captured in a single repository and model. By “complete definition,” this repository and model needs to capture information spanning the so-called “four pillars” of systems engineering: requirements (what the system must do), architecture (how the system is structured), behavior (how the system operates or is used), and parametrics (formal rules and constraints describing the system). The MBSE paradigm, it is argued, offers

numerous benefits:

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Ammonium Probe-Type Sensor for Biofermentation Process Monitoring

A company seeks a probe-type ammonium sensor that can stand up to high temperatures and pressure during the sterilization step for fermentation, and that can deliver real-time concentration information during fermentation. The fermentation processes used require up to 60 hours to be completed. Ideally, the probe should deliver reliable, continuous, and stable real-time readings over that period. The target sensor could be applied to different volumes of fermenters, from small-scale to large production scale.

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Anti-Fouling Technologies for Hard Surfaces

A company seeks components to make up one or more systems that can remove surface contamination (biofilms), lime scum, and lime scale buildup; ameliorate water hardness, mold, mildew, and similar spores; and handle soap scum and remove surface detritus from a variety of materials. These components would contribute to a complete cleaning system that can work autonomously or semi-autonomously on a selection of surfaces: some horizontal, some vertical, and some in complex shapes.

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Icing Protection for Composite UAV Aircraft

NASA is expanding the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) fabricated from composite materials as aerial platforms to carry scientific payloads for science and environmental missions. The UAV brings an unprecedented capability for extended flight duration (over 24 hours on station) to provide uninterrupted monitoring of emergency situations with real-time information for emergency response commanders.

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Carbon-Based Nanotubes that Scale with Better Conductivity

A company seeks carbon nanotubes for conductive applications that, polymerized in bulk, can offer better conductivity than carbon materials in use today, and which are lighter in weight than current non-carbon conductors. The nanotubes should have conductivity approaching that of copper in polymer, bulk, or similar scaled form, and may include polymer-carbon hybrids.

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System for Qualitative Analysis of Microorganisms

A company is seeking a system or method for qualitative analysis of microorganisms that can then classify them according to their taxonomy, thus identifying them. The company needs to formulate a new, single, robust assay that classifies a microorganism if known, and if unknown by the assay, flags it for further testing. If the test recognizes a microorganism, it must also be able to detect any serious differences between the recognized microorganism and its known varieties.

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Identifying Environmentally Friendly Coatings that Protect in Harsh Environments

NASA coats metallic structures and ground support equipment to guard against the adverse effects of corrosion and to ensure they meet or exceed intended performance life. These coatings include inorganic zinc coatings, primer and/or intermediate coatings, finish coatings, and epoxy mastic coatings, among others. In recent years, commercial coating products have changed due to new formulations, changing product numbers, and product cancellations.

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Ideas and Protocols to Differentiate Terrestrial Life from Indigenous Exobiological Life

No protocol exists to determine whether life found on other planets or in space is indigenous to its locale, or is the result of contamination from probes sent by Earth. NASA seeks such a protocol in anticipation of manned exploration of Mars. The protocol is likely to be performed by humans visiting Mars. Any suggested protocol should be robust, yet simple enough to be performed in the field under difficult conditions using a minimal amount of consumables and by equipment carried (at most) on light exploration vehicles.

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