Imaging

CubeSat-Compatible, High-Resolution, Thermal Infrared Imager

This imager will consolidate many of the best features in a single technology. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland A small, adaptable, and stable thermal imaging system was developed that can be flown on an aircraft, deployed on the International Space Station as an attached payload, launched on a ride-share as an entirely self-contained 3U CubeSat, flown on a small satellite, or be a co-manifested satellite instrument. When the instrument design is proven, multiple copies of it could be assembled and aligned into an instrument array to enable large-swath thermal imaging from space, all to provide more detailed spatial and temporal data for biomass burning and land surface temperature studies than has heretofore been available from orbit. The instrument has an Earth-observing expected noise equivalent differential temperature (NEDT)

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Flight Proving a Heliophysics Soft X-Ray Imager

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The interaction between the solar wind and the Earth’s magneto - sphere results in “space weather.” To determine the true nature of the solar wind-magnetosphere interaction, scientists require global measurements of processes occurring at the bow shock, in the magnetosheath, and at the magnetopause. Such observations can only be obtained from imaging this interaction globally. This will produce a paradigm shift similar to how satellite imaging revolutionized terrestrial weather forecasting.

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Intensity Interferometry Image Recovery

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California This software extends the well-known error-reduction Gerchberg-Saxton method to imaging of dark objects, assuming that such an object partially shadows a well-characterized thermal light source, while the shadow cannot be used for inferring the object’s shape. These assumptions are reasonable for a wide class of astronomic objects of interest, such as exoplanets, asteroids, neutron stars, dust clouds, black holes, dark matter, etc.

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Cameras for All-Sky Meteor Surveillance (CAMS) Version 1.3

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The CAMS system comprises a deployment of multiple narrow-field, low-light video cameras that completely covers the sky in a mosaic pattern from 30° elevation and above. Two or three such camera batteries separated by many kilometers allow for large atmospheric volume coverage, high spatial resolution, and the high probability of viewing a meteor from more than one site for triangulation and thus atmospheric path reconstruction.

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Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis for Monitoring Hazards (ARIA-MH)

Geodetic imaging capabilities may be brought to a level that will enable NASA scientists and technologists to support local, national, and international hazard response communities. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Space-based geodetic measurement techniques such as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and Continuous Global Positioning System (CGPS) are now critical elements in the toolset for monitoring earthquake-generating faults, volcanic eruptions, landslides, glacial ablation, reservoir subsidence, and other natural and man-made hazards. Geodetic imaging’s unique ability to capture surface deformation with high spatial and temporal resolution has revolutionized both earthquake science and volcanology. Continuous monitoring of surface deformation and surface change before, during, and after natural hazards allows for better forecasts, increased situational awareness, and more informed recovery. Combining high-spatial-resolution InSAR products with high-temporal-resolution GPS products, and automating this data preparation and processing across global-scale areas of interest, is an untapped science and monitoring opportunity.

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Next-Generation Integrated Camera (NIC)

<NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Design and fabrication of a modern, compact, highly modular, and extreme-environment-capable replacement have been proposed for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) camera. This next-generation camera is based on a CMOS (complementary metal-oxidesemiconductor) imager rather than a CCD (charge-coupled device) imager, and will provide similar image quality to the MER cameras. At the same time, the NIC will enjoy a higher readout speed, operate over a wider temperature range (–135 °C to 125 °C), and cost less to fabricate while seeing a 10× reduction in mass, size, component count, and power consumption of the camera.

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Improved Hall Thrusters Fed by Solid Phase Propellant

Mg is more abundant than Xe and provides a much higher specific impulse. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio Hall thrusters normally use Xe propellant, which is expensive and scarce in the solar system. The weight of Xe is such that typical Hall thrusters are limited in specific impulse to approximately 3,000 s. The objective of this program was to improve and demonstrate Mg Hall thruster systems. Mg is abundant in the solar system and has an atomic mass approximately one-fifth that of Xe, which means much higher specific impulse is achieved than with Xe at typical thruster operating conditions (power, voltage).

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Detection of Carried and Dropped Objects in Surveillance Video

This software analyzes a video input stream and automatically detects carried and dropped objects in near-real-time. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California DARPA’s Mind’s Eye Program aims to develop a smart camera surveillance system that can autonomously monitor a scene and report back human-readable text descriptions of activities that occur in the video. An important aspect is whether objects are brought into the scene, exchanged between persons, left behind, picked up, etc. While some objects can be detected with an object-specific recognizer, many others are not well suited for this type of approach. For example, a carried object may be too small relative to the resolution of the camera to be easily identifiable, or an unusual object, such as an improvised explosive device, may be too rare or unique in its appearance to have a dedicated recognizer. Hence, a generic object detection capability, which can locate objects without a specific model of what to look for, is used. This approach can detect objects even when partially occluded or overlapping with humans in the scene.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Cameras, Electronics & Computers, Data Acquisition, Detectors

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Visualization of fMRI Network Data

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Functional connections within the brain can be revealed through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which shows simultaneous activations of blood flow in the brain during response tests. However, fMRI specialists currently do not have a tool for visualizing the complex data that comes from fMRI scans. They work with correlation matrices that table what functional region connections exist, but they have no corresponding visualization.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Visualization Software, Electronics & Computers, Data Acquisition

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Algorithm for Estimating PRC Wavefront Errors from Shack-Hartmann Camera Images

Phase retrieval is used for the calibration and the fine-alignment of an optical system. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Phase retrieval (PR) and Shack-Hartmann Sensor (SHS) are the two preferred methods of image-based wavefront sensing widely used in various optical testbeds, adaptive optical systems, and ground- and space-based telescopes. They are used to recover the phase information of an optical system from defocused point source images (PR) and focused point source or extended scene images (SHS). For example, the Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph’s (TPF-C’s) High-Contrast Imaging Testbed (HCIT) uses a PR camera (PRC) to estimate, and subsequently correct, the phase error at the exit pupil of this optical system. Several other test-beds at JPL were, and will be, equipped with both a PRC and a Shack-Hartmann camera (SHC).

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Cameras, Optics, Sensors

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