Tech Briefs

Normalized Cross Correlation FPGA Implementation

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A safe and precise landing system for Mars will match features seen in descent imagery against a map constructed from orbital imagery. The spacecraft attitude and altitude are known, but lateral position is known only poorly. From attitude and altitude, one can generate a mapping (homography) that allows the descent image to be warped into the orthonormal viewpoint of the map. Since there now will be two images from the same viewpoint, normalized cross correlation can be used to locate in image 2 the positions of features seen in image 1. These are well-known techniques, but this process must be performed ten times a second using relatively slow space-qualified hardware.

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Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis for Monitoring Hazards (ARIA-MH)

Geodetic imaging capabilities may be brought to a level that will enable NASA scientists and technologists to support local, national, and international hazard response communities. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Space-based geodetic measurement techniques such as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and Continuous Global Positioning System (CGPS) are now critical elements in the toolset for monitoring earthquake-generating faults, volcanic eruptions, landslides, glacial ablation, reservoir subsidence, and other natural and man-made hazards. Geodetic imaging’s unique ability to capture surface deformation with high spatial and temporal resolution has revolutionized both earthquake science and volcanology. Continuous monitoring of surface deformation and surface change before, during, and after natural hazards allows for better forecasts, increased situational awareness, and more informed recovery. Combining high-spatial-resolution InSAR products with high-temporal-resolution GPS products, and automating this data preparation and processing across global-scale areas of interest, is an untapped science and monitoring opportunity.

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Next-Generation Integrated Camera (NIC)

<NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Design and fabrication of a modern, compact, highly modular, and extreme-environment-capable replacement have been proposed for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) camera. This next-generation camera is based on a CMOS (complementary metal-oxidesemiconductor) imager rather than a CCD (charge-coupled device) imager, and will provide similar image quality to the MER cameras. At the same time, the NIC will enjoy a higher readout speed, operate over a wider temperature range (–135 °C to 125 °C), and cost less to fabricate while seeing a 10× reduction in mass, size, component count, and power consumption of the camera.

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Homography Warp Image FPGA Implementation

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A landing system for Mars matches features seen in descent imagery against a map constructed from orbital imagery. The spacecraft attitude and altitude are known, but lateral position is known only poorly. From attitude and altitude, one can generate a mapping (homography) that allows the descent image to be warped into the orthonormal viewpoint of the map. The homography maps any pixel in the map image to the corresponding pixel in the descent image.

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Hybrid DC Circuit Breaker Based on Cryogenic Technique

This hybrid solution combines mechanical and solid-state technology. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio DC protection systems such as circuit breakers play a key enabling role for the DC power system in applications such as aviation, the power grid, and the like. Conventional electromagnetic circuit breakers are a mature technology. However, the large size and high response time make it unsuitable for an electrical system in aviation that requires fast response time. Compared with a mechanical circuit breaker, the solid-state circuit breaker based on high-power semiconductors can provide a fast response time to make the fault current fully controlled. The on resistance of the semiconductors creates high conduction loss, which leads to low efficiency. Therefore, a hybrid solution that combines both mechanical and solid-state technology is desired.

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Modular Propulsion and Deployment Electronics System

The new approach is flexible enough to quickly accommodate design changes. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) required an innovative and modular approach to the design and development of the electronics needed to control the propulsion and deployment components, as well as the electronics necessary to support safety inhibits for personnel and range requirements. Since these electronics would be designed in parallel with the systems they would interface with, they would need to be flexible enough to quickly accommodate ongoing design changes.

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All-Organic Electroactive Device Fabricated with Single- Wall Carbon Nanotube Film Electrode

These devices have applications as electromechanical sensors, sonar, medical and optical devices, artificial muscles, and noise control. Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia A novel, all-organic electroactive device system has been fabricated with a single-wall carbon nanotube (SWCNT) film used as an alternative electrode. This system was fabricated with LaRC-Electro Active Polymer (LaRC-EAP) active layer and the SWCNT films by pressing at 600, 3,000, and 6,000 psi (≈4.1, 20.7, and 41.4 MPa, respectively). Silicone elastomer plates (3-mm thick) were used on the press plate surfaces for better contact adhesion between the SWCNT film and the actuating layer. This polymeric electroactive device layered with the SWCNT-FE (SWCNT-Film Electrode) can serve as an actuator. The density (or modulus) of the SWCNT-FE can be controlled by adjusting the fabrication pressure. It is anticipated that less dense SWCNT-FE can provide less constrain displacement of the polymeric actuating layer by matching the modulus.

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