NASA Spinoff

Behavior Prediction Tools Strengthen Nanoelectronics

NASA Technology Several years ago, NASA started making plans to send robots to explore the deep, dark craters on the Moon. As part of these plans, NASA needed modeling tools to help engineer unique electronics to withstand extremely cold temperatures.

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Power Converters Secure Electronics in Harsh Environments

NASA Technology “Space weather” is a term more frequently used as solar storms and flares are closely monitored and analyzed for the impact they might have on Earth. Blasts of radiation, if strong enough, can make their presence felt by temporarily shutting down power grids or interrupting communication channels. While such events on the Earth’s surface are

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Diagnostics Tools Identify Faults Prior to Failure

NASA Technology The Drilling Automation for Mars Exploration (DAME) project was designed to unearth the secrets of Mars—literally. The project’s engineers designed a light, low-power drill to penetrate into the Martian surface and return clues about the Red Planet’s geological makeup and ancient life that may have once thrived there.

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Archiving Innovations Preserve Essential Historical Records

NASA Technology The Moon hosts perhaps the most fascinating museum that no one ever visits. From reflectometers to space boots, the lunar module’s descent stage, and the famous first footprints left behind by Neil Armstrong, the Apollo 11 mission alone left over 100 artifacts on the Moon’s surface.

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Technologies Render Views of Earth for Virtual Navigation

NASA Technology On a December night in 1995, 159 passengers and crewmembers died when American Airlines Flight 965 flew into the side of a mountain while in route to Cali, Colombia. A key factor in the tragedy: The pilots had lost situational awareness in the dark, unfamiliar terrain. They had no idea the plane was approaching a

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Content Platforms Meet Data Storage, Retrieval Needs

NASA Technology Earth is under a constant barrage of information from space. Whether from satellites orbiting our planet, spacecraft circling Mars, or probes streaking toward the far reaches of the Solar System, NASA collects massive amounts of data from its spacefaring missions each day. NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites, for example, provide daily imagery and measurements of

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Tools Ensure Reliability of Critical Software

NASA Technology In November 2006, after attempting to make a routine maneuver, NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) reported unexpected errors. The onboard software switched to backup resources, and a 2-day lapse in communication took place between the spacecraft and Earth. When a signal was finally received, it indicated that MGS had entered safe mode, a state of restricted

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Electronic Handbooks Simplify Process Management

NASA Technology Getting a multitude of people to work together to manage processes across many organizations —for example, flight projects, research, technologies, or data centers and others—is not an easy task. Just ask Dr. Barry E. Jacobs, a research computer scientist at Goddard Space Flight Center. He helped NASA develop a process management solution that provided documenting tools

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Software Innovations Speed Scientific Computing

NASA Technology What causes the Sun to change? And what are the impacts on our planet and our daily lives? These are some of the top questions that the Heliophysics Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate is seeking answers to through a variety of missions to study the Sun. The most recent, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), launched

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Controller Chips Preserve Microprocessor Function

NASA Technology Above the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Brazil, there is a dip in the Earth’s surrounding magnetic field called the South Atlantic Anomaly. Here, space radiation can reach into Earth’s upper atmosphere to interfere with the functioning of satellites, aircraft, and even the International Space Station. “The South Atlantic Anomaly is a hot spot

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