NASA Tech Needs

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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Polymer/Carbon or Other Materials With Conductivity Approaching Copper and Aluminum

A company seeks a weight-saving alternative to sheets and wires of copper and aluminum that can operate at specific frequencies. The company wants to replace conductive casings, conductors, wires, grounding plates, and similar electronics structures with other materials that have similar conductive properties, but that are much lighter than copper and aluminum. Such materials might be carbon or polymer.

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Predicting Remaining Component Life

Maintaining proper operation is crucial in safety-critical settings such as space-going vehicles, launch operations, and aeronautics applications. Should abnormal conditions be encountered, it is desirable to not only detect these early on, but to predict when the system will no longer meet operational specifications. Operational functionality is provided by the science of prognostics, an engineering discipline that focuses on predicting the remaining useful life of components, subsystems, or systems. Prognostics can be accomplished by modeling the underlying physics of a component as well as the anticipated damage propagation.

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Method for Attaining an Extreme Cantilever

A company needs to extend horizontally the loose end of a small coil of lightweight stored material without external support; essentially, achieving a cantilever supported only at one beam end. Material, beam cross-section, and beam structure are on the table, but the solution must meet strict criteria in terms of size, weight, cost, and coilability. Exotic materials or difficult-to-manufacture options may be non-starters because of costs.

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Radioprotectants for Humans Exposed to Chronic and Acute Radiation

A company seeks biological, pharmaceutical, or dietary countermeasures to act as radioprotectants for humans exposed to higher doses of radiation — either chronic exposure or acute exposure. The company is searching for any successful radiation countermeasures, mitigants, and treatments for both long-term and short, but relatively intense, exposure to radiation. Solutions may be topically applied, injected, ingested, inhaled, or delivered by any other method. It can include diet, compounds, chemicals, or other substances or modalities.

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