Environment

Parallelization of Snowflake Growth Simulation

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

Gravner and Griffeath have developed a serial numerical model that simulates the growth of snowflakes in three dimensions under the assumptions of 24-fold symmetry. To allow for much larger and asymmetric snowflakes as well as to reduce simulation time, their model was re-implemented using distributed parallelism via MPI (Message Passing Interface). Test-driven development (TDD) was applied to rapidly develop an accurate implementation that consistently reproduces the results of Gravner and Griffeath. Through parallelism, simulation times were reduced from days/weeks to mere hours, and crystal sizes could be explored that are roughly 10 times larger in each dimension than otherwise possible. This new implementation will be used to generate thousands of representative snow crystals as a means to improve the ability to use remote sensing to estimate water content in snow-containing clouds.

This work was done by Thomas Clune of Goddard Space Flight Center, and Christopher Pearson of Northrup Grumman Information Technology. GSC-16346-1

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Computer simulation, Remote sensing, Water, Weather and climate
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Soil Remediation with Plant-Fungal Combinations

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

This work applies to remediation and restoration of soil contaminated by fuel, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) wastes, etc. While there can be a beneficial effect of microbial communities, individual plant-fungus combinations can vary in their efficacy in removing pollutants from the environment. Having a set of enzymes from fungi specifically adapted to conditions in contaminated soil is a huge advantage.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Land pollution, Soils, Biological sciences
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Continental-Scale Mapping of Adélie Penguin Colonies from Landsat Imagery

Remote sensing is used for biological conservation.

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

The Adélie penguin has a circum-Antarctic distribution and is widely considered a useful indicator of status and change in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems. Breeding distribution of the Adélie penguin was surveyed with Landsat-7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) over the entire continent of Antarctica. An algorithm was designed to minimize radiometric noise and to retrieve Adélie penguin colony location and spatial extent from the ETM+ data. In all, 259 ETM+ scenes were selected from the Lansdat archive from the 1999–2003 era and were used in the retrieval. Pixel clustering identified a total of 244 individual Adélie penguin colonies, ranging in size from a single pixel (900 m2) to a maximum of 875 pixels (0.788 km2). The Landsat retrievals successfully located Adélie penguin colonies that accounted for ≈96 to 97% of the regional population used as ground truth, with errors of omission and commission on the order of only 1 to 2%.

Posted in: Briefs, Tech Briefs, Environmental Monitoring, Imaging, Photonics, Mathematical models, Statistical analysis, Environmental testing, Weather and climate, Satellites
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Researchers Develop Shock-Based Desalination Process

A team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has come up with an innovative approach that, unlike most traditional desalination systems, does not separate ions or water molecules with filters, which can become clogged, or boiling, which consumes great amounts of energy.

Posted in: News, Recycling Technologies
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An Alternative Molecular Sexing Method for the Florida Scrub-jay

John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A new method of molecular sexing is described that helps to understand population dynamics of the Florida Scrub-jay (FSJ). FSJ is an endemic, nonmigratory, monomorphic species of bird found on the Florida peninsula in lowgrowing oak or pine scrub. The current conservation status listed for the FSJ is threatened and vulnerable to extinction.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Green Design & Manufacturing, Physical Sciences, Biological sciences
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Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT) Science Simulator

This program simulates ocean topography observations for generating ocean circulation models.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

The SWOT Science Simulator simulates projected SWOT altimetry observations that can be applied to an ocean general circulation model, allowing the exploration of ideas and methods to optimize information retrieval from the proposed SWOT Mission, which is currently baselined to launch in 2020.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Green Design & Manufacturing, Physical Sciences, Simulation and modeling
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Digital Elevation Model Maker (DEMmaker)

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

The DEMmaker suite of software applications produces data products containing surface shape, reflectivity, and geomorphology (craters and rocks) for a desired planetary surface based on statistically accurate size and frequency distributions of geologic and surface impact features. The current version can produce models at virtually any resolution or size for any location on the Moon. Remote sensing data can be incorporated to underlie the synthetic landscape with real data where available. The software suite is driven by a graphical user interface (GUI) that lets the user specify which tools of the suite to run, allowing flexibility in the products output by the package.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Green Design & Manufacturing, Physical Sciences, Simulation and modeling, Computer software and hardware
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Terrestrial Observation and Prediction System (TOPS)

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

TOPS is a modeling software system that integrates data from satellite, aircraft, and ground sensors, and weather/climate models with application models to expeditiously produce operational nowcasts and forecasts of ecological conditions. TOPS allows determination of the options for different socio-economic and resource management approaches to dealing with fluctuations within our biosphere, and will help in mitigating potential negative impacts.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Physical Sciences, Simulation and modeling, Computer software and hardware
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Images of Change for iPad

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Images of Change provides a user-friendly mobile interface for exploring an extensive gallery of land-based and space-based images showing dramatic change over time on Earth. Hosted on NASA’s Global Climate Change website, Images of Change is designed to raise awareness of climate change, inspire curiosity and interest in the programs that create the images, and highlight the importance of global climate change research.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Physical Sciences, Imaging and visualization
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Characteristics of the Spliced Kennedy Space Center Doppler Radar Wind Profiler Database

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama

NASA relies on the Natural Environments (NE) Branch located at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) to provide databases that represent the wind magnitudes and wind changes expected on day-of-launch (DOL) for vehicle programs that MSFC NE supports. MSFC NE has traditionally utilized weather balloon measurements to generate the wind profiles used in DOL loads and trajectory simulations. However, balloon measurement archives have three limitations in that (1) they do not contain a large enough sample to adequately represent the wind environment at extreme percentiles, (2) balloons could misrepresent the aloft wind environment due to their rise rate and drift characteristics, and (3) the Space Shuttle Program’s operational requirements significantly drove the atmosphere databases’ development. To help mitigate these limitations, MSFC NE used the 50-MHz Doppler Radar Wind Profiler (DRWP) at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) to validate balloon measurements on DOL during the SSP.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Physical Sciences, Radar, Test equipment and instrumentation
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