UpFront

NASA and Industry Create Mid-Infrared Detector

NASA Goddard scientist Xiaoli Sun and his industry partner, DRS Technologies (Dallas, TX), have created the world’s first photon-counting detector sensitive to the mid-infrared wavelength bands — a spectral sweet spot for a number of remote-sensing applications, including the detection of greenhouse gases on Earth, Mars, and other planetary bodies as well as ice and frost on comets, asteroids, and the Moon.

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A Tale of Tails

Tests were conducted recently by Boeing and NASA to answer the question: What if reducing the size of an aircraft’s tail could lead to more efficient air travel? The tests, focused on a technology called active flow control, are part of the Boeing ecoDemonstrator program. Active flow control is a technology that could result in a tail that is 17% smaller. This would reduce drag by about 0.5%, and would also reduce the tail’s weight, both of which cut an airplane’s fuel use and carbon emissions.

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Editor's Choice: August 2015

NASA is developing the next generation of radiators using a composite that combines low density, high thermal conductivity, and high strength. A scalable process was developed that incorporates nanoparticles into magnesium that forms a high-strength, high-thermal-conductivity nanocomposite. Other applications for this technology are consumer electronics, automobile components such as brake systems, drill bits, mining equipment, and corrosion-resistant coatings. Click HERE to find out more.

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Editor's Choice: July 2015

NASA has developed a food bar for astronauts that replaces breakfast or lunch, and is nutritionally balanced, has a shelf life of at least two years, and can be rehydrated before eating, if necessary. The bars replace multiple food items that are usually combined to form a meal. Emergency relief organizations, food banks, and the military could all use the bars. Find out more HERE.

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NASA Releases Global Climate Change Projections

NASA has released data showing how temperature and rainfall patterns worldwide may change through the year 2100 because of growing concentrations of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere. The data shows projected changes worldwide on a regional level in response to different scenarios of increasing carbon dioxide simulated by 21 climate models.

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RoboSimian Drives, Walks, and Drills

The ape-like RoboSimian robot, developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, took fifth place in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Finals. RoboSimian squared off against 22 other robots in the international robotics competition, which promoted the development of robots that could respond to disaster scenarios too dangerous for humans.

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Editor's Choice: June 2015

A new technique verifies and identifies a person based on features drawn from electrocardiographic (ECG) leads. It can identify a person from a group of known subjects, or verify a person to allow access to a secure facility or access to Internet control of computers, airplanes, weapons, and alarms. It uses the ECG signals generated by the heart during contraction and relaxation that are characteristic to an individual. The method can be used by homeland security personnel and law enforcement, and in airports and other high-security locations. Find out more HERE.

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