Physical Sciences

Hydrogen-Enhanced Lunar Oxygen Extraction and Storage Using Only Solar Power

Oxygen-generating concept can be developed in an efficient system with low specific mass. The innovation consists of a thermodynamic system for extracting in situ oxygen vapor from lunar regolith using a solar photovoltaic power source in a reactor, a method for thermally insulating the reactor, a method for protecting the reactor internal components from oxidation by the extracted oxygen, a method for removing unwanted chemical species produced in the reactor from the oxygen vapor, a method for passively storing the oxygen, and a method for releasing highpurity oxygen from storage for lunar use.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Miniaturized, High-Speed, Modulated X-Ray Source

An extremely robust photon-driven electron source is used that can tolerate weeks or more of exposure to air. A low-cost, miniature x-ray source has been developed that can be modulated in intensity from completely off to full intensity on nanosecond timescales. This modulated x-ray source (MXS) has no filaments and is extremely rugged. The energy level of the MXS is adjustable from 0 to more than 100 keV. It can be used as the core of many new devices, providing the first practical, arbitrarily time-variable source of x-rays. The high-speed switching capability and miniature size make possible many new technologies including x-ray-based communication, compact time-resolved x-ray diffraction, novel xray fluorescence instruments, and low- and precise-dose medical x-rays.

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Uplift of Ionospheric Oxygen Ions During Extreme Magnetic Storms

Research reported earlier in literature was conducted relating to estimation of the ionospheric electrical field, which may have occurred during the September 1859 Carrington geomagnetic storm event, with regard to modern-day consequences.

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Hollow-Fiber Spacesuit Water Membrane Evaporator

Commercial applications include personal coolers for infantry, humidifiers for pilots, and personal coolers for hazmat suits. The hollow-fiber spacesuit water membrane evaporator (HoFi SWME) is being developed to perform the thermal control function for advanced spacesuits and spacecraft to take advantage of recent advances in micropore membrane technology in providing a robust, heat-rejection device that is less sensitive to contamination than is the sublimator. After recent contamination tests, a commercial-off- the-shelf (COTS) micro porous hollow-fiber membrane was selected for prototype development as the most suitable candidate among commercial hollow-fiber evaporator alternatives. An innovative design that grouped the fiber layers into stacks, which were separated by small spaces and packaged into a cylindrical shape, was developed into a full-scale prototype for the spacesuit application.

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Recirculating 1-K-Pot for Pulse-Tube Cryostats

A paper describes a 1-K-pot that works with a commercial pulse tube cooler for astrophysics instrumentation testbeds that require temperatures

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Method for Processing Lunar Regolith Using Microwaves

A paper describes a method of using microwave heating experiments on lunar simulants to determine the mechanism that causes lunar regolith to be such an excellent microwave absorber. The experiments initially compared the effects of sharp particle edges to round particle edges on the heating curves. For most compositions, sharp particle edged samples were more effective in being heated by microwaves than round particle edged materials. However, the experiments also showed an unexpected effect for both types of particles. Upon heating the sample surface above 400 °C, the sample experienced some sort of internal structure change that caused it to heat much more efficiently. This enhancement may be associated with the unique microwave volumetric heating that can produce a large temperature gradient within the sample leading to melting of some components at the center of the sample. This new effect that may also be happening in lunar regolith samples is probably the cause of the previously observed enhanced heating of a sample of lunar regolith. Properly designed microwave applicators could heat and solidify the lunar regolith to form roads and building blocks for structures needed on the Moon.

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A Hybrid Fiber/Solid-State Regenerative Amplifier with Tunable Pulse Widths for Satellite Laser Ranging

A fiber/solid-state hybrid seeded regenerative amplifier, capable of achieving high output energy with tunable pulse widths, has been developed for satellite laser ranging applications. The regenerative amplifier cavity uses a pair of Nd:YAG zigzag slabs oriented orthogonally to one another in order to make thermal lensing effects symmetrical and simplify optical correction schemes. The seed laser used is a fibercoupled 1,064-nm narrowband (

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Photonics, Briefs

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