Information Technology & Software

Technique for Finding the Center of an Image of a Rising or Setting Sun Based on Simulated Images

A new JPL project requires that the center of the images of a rising or setting Sun be determined with certain accuracy — for example, within 1 km — when the Sun is observed from the International Space Station (ISS). This center-finding technique can be used in applications such as a Sun-Tracker. To meet such needs, a simulation tool was developed for the generation of Sun images observed either on the ground or from space. The new technique enables one to find the center of a Sun image based on simulated images. The technique does not rely on ellipse-fitting to the boundary of a Sun image or other calibration techniques, so the accuracy is not affected by the distortion of Sun images.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Simulation and modeling, Imaging and visualization
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Modeling Lunar Surface Systems Concepts of Operations

The plans that are generated can be optimized for a specific set of goals, such as maximizing science data or minimizing power consumption.

The goal of this work was to model lunar surface systems using a declarative planning system (ASPEN — Activity Scheduling/Planning Environment), provide a parameterizable Excel document to aid in the model generation, and deliver both Mac and PC versions. An adaptation of Microsoft Excel and ASPEN for Lunar Surface System concepts of operations was used. The goal of the system is to enable searching through several concepts of operations. A concept of operations consists of a proposed schedule of high-level activities and parameterization of resources (e.g., power, communications, oxygen, water, etc.) where three distinct phases of development occurred: (1) initial system development for Lunar, (2) planning system development for Lunar, and (3) planning system development for NASA’s 13th Desert Research and Technology Studies (Desert RATS) live trial.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Simulation and modeling
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Portable Distributed Scripts (PoDS)

A Python application enables a user to execute a series of independent tasks on multicore clusters.

“Portable Distributed Scripts” (PoDS) is a Python application that allows users to execute serial independent tasks concurrently across nodes on multicore clusters. The package consists of a set of scripts working together through a simple text-based interface. A user only needs to provide minimal information to perform the desired tasks.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Computer software and hardware
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Slot-Sampled Optical PPM Demodulation

Algorithms enable a post-processing receiver architecture that uses a fixed-rate ADC sample capture technology as an alternative to real-time receiver architecture.

In order to demodulate an optical PPM signal, the receiver must align its slot clock to that of the received waveform to count the number of arrivals within each slot. The large bandwidth expansion factor of PPM, M/log2(M) requires a prohibitively large sample rate when a fixed sample clock N times greater than the slot frequency is used to provide a slot timing resolution of 1/Nth of a slot period. Alternative techniques that achieve slot alignment resolution through adjustment of the phase of the sample clock to align with the slot boundary require custom hardware and are not compatible with post-processing receiver architectures that use fixed-rate analog-to-digital (ADC) sample capture technology.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Architecture, Optics
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Small-Object Detection via Fast Discrete Curvelet Transform

The detection of distant objects in an image is relevant to applications in defense, security, and robotics. Successfully detecting objects of interest has been a common problem with respect to intelligent computer vision. Automatic target recognition (ATR) systems have been formulated and employed in numerous ways to tackle the difficulty of unsupervised targeting.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Imaging and visualization
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Detecting an Extreme Minority Class in Hyperspectral Data Using Machine Learning

Automated classifiers can detect surface sulfur in orbital remote sensing observations.

Orbital remote sensing provides a powerful way to efficiently survey targets for features of interest in inaccessible regions of the Earth as well as on other planets. One such feature of astrobiological relevance is the presence of surface sulfur deposits, which may be present on icy moons such as Europa. All hyperspectral instruments face the difficult task of spectral feature selection (finding the spectral bands that matter), especially those that operate in previously unstudied arenas encountered in planetary missions. This software demonstrates how manually annotated labels can enable automated feature discovery that boosts science return.

Posted in: Briefs, Data Acquisition, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Computer software and hardware, Sensors and actuators, Data acquisition, Data acquisition (obsolete), Satellites
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KSC Spaceport Weather Data Archive

The Spaceport Weather Data Archive provides a fully searchable database of weather data gathered at Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Weather data includes wind, temperature, and humidity data from a surface meteorological tower network; upper air soundings from both weather balloons and radar wind profilers; and data from the extensive rain gauge network. Not only can the user easily retrieve data and download it, but the user can also view graphically the weather data on a map overlay. For example, the user can enter search criteria to view all lightning strikes ending at a particular date/time, and graphically see the lightning strikes color-coded based on elapsed time for the prior seven hours. A unique feature of the software is the capability to invoke an automated playback for cloud-to-ground lightning events on a geographic overlay for a selected date and time interval.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Data Acquisition, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Computer software and hardware, Data management
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Visualizing Acquisition, Processing, and Network Statistics Through Database Queries

Given a date range, the UAVSAR MySQL database is queried to evaluate data acquisition, processing status, and network performance, and uses the Google Charts API to dynamically return images of pie and bar charts to visualize processing and network statistics. The MySQL database is populated with relevant data that includes processing status, as well as network performance (ping and sample file downloads). Then, using the open Google Charts API, the metrics are displayed for any desired date range.

Posted in: Briefs, Data Acquisition, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Statistical analysis, Computer software and hardware, Data management
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Systems and Services for Near-Real-Time Web Access to NPP Data

Software for processing and interpreting S-NPP observations and related data has become publicly available and more readily usable.

The recently launched Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) satellite, operated by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA), is providing multispectral global observations over the next several years to support a broad array of research and applications. SNPP data products consist of a complex set of data and metadata files in highly specialized formats, and the U.S. government’s operational ground segment delivers these to users with delays of several hours to a few days.

Posted in: Briefs, Data Acquisition, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Computer software and hardware, Data management, Satellites
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“Ascent - Commemorating Shuttle” — A NASA Film and Multimedia Project DVD

The production has demonstrated itself not only to be a technical record, but to also serve as an inspirational, motivational, and educational tool.

NASA seeks to preserve, and make readily accessible, historical Space Shuttle launch footage to inspire and educate NASA stakeholders both in and outside the NASA family through the dissemination of the Ascent production materials as a DVD, and through both NASA Television and online social media avenues without incurring distribution and media costs.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Education, Education and training, Historical reference
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