Physical Sciences

Optical Device for Converting a Laser Beam Into Two Co-aligned but Oppositely Directed Beams

Optical systems consisting of a series of optical elements require alignment from the input end to the output end. The optical elements can be mirrors, lenses, sources, detectors, or other devices. Complex optical systems are often difficult to align from end-to-end because the alignment beam must be inserted at one end in order for the beam to traverse the entire optical path to the other end. The ends of the optical train may not be easily accessible to the alignment beam.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Photonics, Briefs

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Support Routines for In Situ Image Processing

This software consists of a set of application programs that support ground-based image processing for in situ missions. These programs represent a collection of utility routines that perform miscellaneous functions in the context of the ground data system. Each one fulfills some specific need as determined via operational experience. The most unique aspect to these programs is that they are integrated into the large, in situ image processing system via the PIG (Planetary Image Geometry) library. They work directly with space in situ data, understanding the appropriate image meta-data fields and updating them properly. The programs themselves are completely multimission; all mission dependencies are handled by PIG.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Software, Imaging, Briefs

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Automatic Calibration of an Airborne Imaging System to an Inertial Navigation Unit

This software automatically calibrates a camera or an imaging array to an inertial navigation system (INS) that is rigidly mounted to the array or imager. In effect, it recovers the coordinate frame transformation between the reference frame of the imager and the reference frame of the INS.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Software, Imaging, Briefs

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Planetary Data Systems (PDS) Imaging Node Atlas II

The Planetary Image Atlas (PIA) is a Rich Internet Application (RIA) that serves planetary imaging data to the science community and the general public. PIA also utilizes the USGS Unified Planetary Coordinate system (UPC) and the on-Mars map server.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Software, Imaging, Briefs

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Planar Superconducting Millimeter-Wave/Terahertz Channelizing Filter

The design enables multiple-octave operation with no spurious harmonic response. This innovation is a compact, superconducting, channelizing bandpass filter on a single-crystal (0.45 μm thick) silicon substrate, which operates from 300 to 600 GHz. This device consists of four channels with center frequencies of 310, 380, 460, and 550 GHz, with approximately 50-GHz bandwidth per channel. The filter concept is inspired by the mammalian cochlea, which is a channelizing filter that covers three decades of bandwidth and 3,000 channels in a very small physical space. By using a simplified physical cochlear model, and its electrical analog of a channelizing filter covering multiple octaves bandwidth, a large number of output channels with high interchannel isolation and high-order upper stop-band response can be designed.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Qualification of UHF Antenna for Extreme Martian Thermal Environments

This innovation can be used in aerospace and deep space applications. The purpose of this development was to validate the use of the external Rover Ultra High Frequency (RUHF) antenna for space under extreme thermal environments to be encountered during the surface operations of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. The antenna must survive all ground operations plus the nominal 670 Martian sol mission that includes summer and winter seasons of the Mars thermal environment. The qualification effort was to verify that theRUHF antenna design and its bonding and packaging processes are adequate to survive the harsh environmental conditions.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Lunar Sulfur Capture System

The process substantially reduces the need for Earthsupplied consumables. The Lunar Sulfur Capture System (LSCS) protects in situ resource utilization (ISRU) hardware from corrosion, and reduces contaminant levels in water condensed for electrolysis. The LSCS uses a lunar soil sorbent to trap over 98 percent of sulfur gases and about twothirds of halide gases evolved during hydrogen reduction of lunar soils. LSCS soil sorbent is based on lunar minerals containing iron and calcium compounds that trap sulfur and halide gas contaminants in a fixed-bed reactor held at temperatures between 250 and 400 °C, allowing moisture produced during reduction to pass through in vapor phase. Small amounts of Earth-based polishing sorbents consisting of zinc oxide and sodium aluminate are used to reduce contaminant concentrations to one ppm or less. The preferred LSCS configuration employs lunar soil beneficiation to boost concentrations of reactive sorbent minerals.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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