Photonics/Optics

Web-Based Search Service to Support Imaging Spectrometer Instrument Operations

An adaptive matched-filter approach compensates for the context and background characteristics of each scene. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Imaging spectrometers yield rich and informative data products, but interpreting them demands time and expertise. There is a continual need for new algorithms and methods for rapid firstdraft analyses to assist analysts during instrument operations. Intelligent data analyses can summarize scenes to draft geologic maps, searching images to direct operator attention to key features. This validates data quality while facilitating rapid tactical decision-making to select follow-up targets. Ideally, these algorithms would operate in seconds, never grow bored, and be free from observation bias about the kinds of mineralogy that will be found.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Photonics

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Hermetic Phototube Housing

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland This innovation is a hermetically sealed case or very small chamber. A photomultiplier tube (PMT) is mounted inside the chamber. The circuit board is also installed inside the chamber with appropriate feedthroughs for signals. An adapter/floating mount called the phototube to light pipe system mount (PLPSM) allows the hermetic PMT housing to attach to the light guide.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Photonics

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Design, Fabrication, and Test of WFIRST/AFTA GRISM Assembly

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland This work originated with the Wide Field InfraRed Survey Telescope (WFIRST) slitless spectrometer design (GRISM assembly), which attempted to follow the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) method of employing a singleelement GRISM as a slitless spectroscope. However, WFIRST’s field of view (FOV) is ~100x of HST’s wide field camera, and the spectral resolution is ~5x higher with a relatively faster f/8 system. The design turned out to be extremely difficult using only one diffractive surface. Even with many freeform optical elements, and putting a grating on a toroid surface, the image performance was still not satisfactory.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Photonics

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Spinal Ultrasound Just-in-Time Training Tool

This software facilitates ultrasound imaging of the cervical and lumbar spine by crewmembers in-flight. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Back pain and injury are recognized risks that can affect the well-being and performance of crewmembers during missions, as well as their long-term health. Spine elongation is a documented effect of microgravity, back pain is a common occurrence in early flight, and the post-flight incidence of spinal injury is higher than the population average. These observations suggest that spinal unloading results in a transition to a new set point for the spine, and causes discomfort and an increased risk of injury.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Photonics

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Wide-Spectrum Organic Mass Spectrometer Using Far-Ultraviolet Ionization

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Two-step laser desorption/photoionization mass spectrometry (L2MS) represents a powerful tool for the organic analysis of astromaterials. The technique has high sensitivity and requires little to no sample preparation.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Photonics

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AEGIS Imaging Software Unearths Mars Rocks

In mid-October, a NASA-developed software called AEGIS was uploaded to the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover. The AEGIS technology, winner of NASA’s 2011 Software of the Year award, will soon allow scientists on the ground to more easily identify interesting rocks and other terrain features on the Red Planet.

Posted in: Articles, Photonics

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Hybrid Technology Advances Laser Material Processing

MultiWave Hybrid Technology* combines multiple laser beams with various wavelengths into a single coaxial laser beam. There are existing systems using two different laser wavelengths independently, but this is the first technology capable of combining multiple wavelengths into a single beam, providing a valuable tool for the development of novel material processing technologies.

Posted in: Articles, Photonics

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