NASA Tech Briefs’ Physical Sciences Web page spans the fields of earth science, chemistry, and physics, focusing on advances in sensing, test, and measurement. Tech Briefs report on innovations in microscopy, spectroscopy, photonics and more. Many of the Tech Briefs below are correlated to a Technical Support Package (TSP) or White Paper that can be downloaded free of charge.
The system captures navigational data in real time while keeping the sensor centered on a fixed target.
CAR (cloud absorption radiometer)
acquires spatial reference data from host
aircraft navigation systems. This poses various
problems during CAR data reduction,
including navigation data format, accuracy
of position data, accuracy of ... Read More >>
The Hyperspectral Imager-Tracker
(HIT) is a technique for visualization
and tracking of low-contrast, fast-moving
objects. The HIT architecture is based
on an innovative and only recently developed
concept in imaging optics. This
innovative architecture will give the
Light Prescriptions Innovators (LPI)
HIT the possibility of simultaneously collecting
the spectral band ... Read More >>
Implementation of this technology will surpass the spectrum-allocation and bandwidth
limitations of current RF systems.
A compact, low-cost laser communications
transceiver was prototyped for
downlinking data at 10 Gb/s from
Earth-orbiting spacecraft. The design
can be implemented using flight-grade
parts. With emphasis on simplicity, compactness,
and light weight ... Read More >>
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.
Read More >>
This innovation is the environmental
qualification of a single-crystal silicon mirror
for spaceflight use. The single-crystal silicon
mirror technology is a previous innovation,
but until now, a mirror of this type
has not been qualified for spaceflight use.
The qualification steps included mounting,
gravity change measurements, vibration
testing, vibration-induced change ... Read More >>
The technology will enhance the resolving power of small
QMA instruments and simplify the electronics package for
ground and space instruments.
Analysis of the composition of planetary
atmospheres is one of the most important
and fundamental measurements in planetary
robotic exploration. Quadrupole mass
analyzers (QMAs) are the primary ... Read More >>
The process substantially
reduces the need for Earthsupplied
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 ... Read More >>
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 (... Read More >>
The design enables multiple-octave operation with no spurious
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 ... Read More >>
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.
Read More >>
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 ... Read More >>
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