Tech Briefs

Earth Observing System Data Gateway

The Earth Observing System Data Gateway (EDG) software provides a “onestop-shopping” standard interface for exploring and ordering Earth-science data stored at geographically distributed sites. EDG enables a user to do the following:

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Mercury Shopping Cart

Mercury Shopping Cart Interface (MSCI) is a reusable component of the Power User Interface 5.0 (PUI) program described in the immediately preceding article. MSCI is a means of encapsulating the logic and information needed to describe an orderable item consistent with Mercury Shopping Cart service protocol. Designed to be used with Web-browser software, MSCI generates Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) pages on which ordering information can be entered. MSCI comprises two types of Practical Extraction and Report Language (PERL) modules: template modules and shopping-cart logic modules. Template modules generate HTML pages for entering the required ordering details and enable submission of the order via a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) post. Shopping-cart modules encapsulate the logic and data needed to describe an individual orderable item to the Mercury Shopping Cart service. These modules evaluate information entered by the user to determine whether it is sufficient for the Shopping Cart service to process the order. Once an order has been passed from MSCI to a deployed Mercury Shopping Cart server, there is no further interaction with the user.

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Cassini Archive Tracking System

The Cassini Archive Tracking System (CATS) is a computer program that enables tracking of scientific data transfers from originators to the Planetary Data System (PDS) archives. Without CATS, there is no systematic means of locating products in the archive process or ensuring their completeness. By keeping a database of transfer communications and status, CATS enables the Cassini Project and the PDS to efficiently and accurately report on archive status. More importantly, problem areas are easily identified through customized reports that can be generated on the fly from any Web-enabled computer. A Web-browser interface and clearly defined authorization scheme provide safe distributed access to the system, where users can perform functions such as create customized reports, record a transfer, and respond to a transfer. CATS ensures that Cassini provides complete science archives to the PDS on schedule and that those archives are available to the science community by the PDS. The three-tier architecture is loosely coupled and designed for simple adaptation to multi-mission use. Written in the Java programming language, it is portable and can be run on any Java-enabled Web server.

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Computing Fault Displacements From Surface Deformations

Simplex is a computer program that calculates locations and displacements of subterranean faults from data on Earth-surface deformations. The calculation involves inversion of a forward model (given a point source representing a fault, a forward model calculates the surface deformations) for displacements, and strains caused by a fault located in isotropic, elastic half-space. The inversion involves the use of nonlinear, multi-parameter estimation techniques. The input surface-deformation data can be in multiple formats, with absolute or differential positioning. The input data can be derived from multiple sources, including interferometric synthetic-aperture radar, the Global Positioning System, and strain meters. Parameters can be constrained or free. Estimates can be calculated for single or multiple faults. Estimates of parameters are accompanied by reports of their covariances and uncertainties. Simplex has been tested extensively against forward models and against other means of inverting geodetic data and seismic observations.

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Thermal Light Valve Brings IR Imaging to the Masses

Technology uses MEMS structure with refractive properties sensitive to thermal radiation and reads out signal with inexpensive laser diode and CMOS sensor. RedShift Systems, Waltham, Massachusetts The desire to “see” in complete darkness or through obscurants such as smoke or fog has driven the development and adoption of thermal imaging technology. Thermal imaging is the translation of a scene’s heat signature — the 8-μm to 14-μm or long-wavelength infrared (LWIR) energy an object emits — into a visible image or data that can be interpreted by a computer.

Posted in: Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics

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Optically Driven Deformable Mirrors

There is no wiring on the back sides of these mirrors. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Optically driven deformable mirrors may eventually supplant electrically driven deformable mirrors in some adaptive-optics and active-optics applications. Traditionally, the mirror facets in electrically driven deformable mirrors are actuated, variously, by means of piezoelectric, electrostrictive, microelectromechanical, liquid-crystal, or thermal devices. At least one such device must be dedicated to each facet, and there must be at least one wire carrying a control or drive signal to the device. If a deformable mirror comprises many (e.g., thousands) of facets, then wiring becomes a major problem for design, and the problem is compounded in cases of piezoelectric or other actuators for which high drive voltages are required. In contrast, in optically driven mirrors, the wiring problem is eliminated.

Posted in: Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics

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Automatic Alignment of Displacement-Measuring Interferometer

Corrections are derived from fluctuations associated with circular dithering of a laser beam. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A control system strives to maintain the correct alignment of a laser beam in an interferometer dedicated to measuring the displacement or distance between two fiducial corner-cube reflectors. The correct alignment of the laser beam is parallel to the line between the corner points of the corner-cube reflectors: Any deviation from parallelism changes the length of the optical path between the reflectors, thereby introducing a displacement or distance measurement error.

Posted in: Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics, Measurements, Electronic control systems, Lasers, Test equipment and instrumentation

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