Special Coverage

Distributed Propulsion Concepts and Superparamagnetic Energy Harvesting Hummingbird Engine
Aerofoam
Wet Active Chevron Nozzle for Controllable Jet Noise Reduction
Magnetic Relief Valve
Locking Mechanism for a Flexible Composite Hinge
Active Aircraft Pylon Noise Control System
Unmanned Aerial Systems Traffic Management
Method of Bonding Dissimilar Materials
Sonar Inspection Robot System
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High-Precision Electric Gate for Time-of-Flight Ion Mass Spectrometers

This technology can be used for chromatography and analytical measurements. The HPEG can deliver a precise start pulse when an ion enters the time-of-flight section of an ion mass spectrometer, which provides a very high mass resolution capability. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a high-precision electric gate (HPEG) time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometer to study the magnetosphere of Jupiter and Europa. The HPEG can provide a precise start pulse when an ion enters the TOF section of an Ion Mass Spectrometer (IMS) to provide a very high mass resolution capability. The design uses a row of very thin, parallel aligned wires that are pulsed in sequence so the ion can pass through the gap of two parallel plates, which are biased to prevent passage of the ion.

Posted in: Briefs, Instrumentation

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Method of Adjusting Acoustic Impedances for Impedance-Tunable Acoustic Segments

NASA’s Langley Research Center researchers have developed an adaptive noise-reduction system that optimizes impedance in an aircraft engine. Aerospace and automotive engineers can take advantage of this innovative system that offers a superior approach to noise dampening. Advantages will be seen in improved noise reduction through all stages of the flight, including takeoff and landing. In addition, the system corrects and adapts to mechanical and chemical changes over the life of the engine liner. The technology employs a honeycomb design with a variable control backing that self-adjusts based on real-time aeroacoustics for maximum effectiveness. The technology can be readily incorporated into existing technologies and transitioned to the marketplace. NASA is seeking market insights on commercialization of this new adaptive noise-reduction technology, and welcomes interest from potential producers, users, and licensees.

Posted in: Briefs, Instrumentation

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Nanostructure Neutron Converter Layer Development

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a nanostructure neutron converter layer that can be used for neutron detection. Neutron radiation is a significant risk in long-duration spaceflight and is also a risk in commercial aviation and nuclear reactors. This invention provides for more effective neutron radiation detection than currently available technologies.

Posted in: Briefs, Instrumentation

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Mars Science Laboratory ChemCam Sun Safety

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) ChemCam instrument can be damaged when the Sun enters or passes through its field of view (FOV). There is no Sun cover, yet other instruments mounted with boresights pointing in the same direction must observe the Sun for scientific observations and for attitude determination. When in a Suntolerant focus range during rover motion and pointing for observations by other remote sensing instruments, the Sun must be allowed to pass through the ChemCam FOV, and when in a Sun-damage focus range for ChemCam observations, the Sun must never be allowed to enter the FOV, even after a rover system fault. Both of these scenarios depend upon knowledge of the attitude of the rover relative to the motion of the Sun. A Sun search that is guaranteed to be Sun-safe for the ChemCam, even when the location of the Sun is unknown, had to be developed.

Posted in: Briefs, Instrumentation

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System for In-Situ Detection of Plant Exposure to Trichloroethylene (TCE)

The system can scan the surface of a leaf to quickly detect the presence or absence of TCE without damaging the plant.In collaboration with the State University of New York and the Naval Research Laboratory, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is developing a hyperspectral estimator to detect trichloroethylene (TCE) in plants. TCE has been a widely used industrial solvent known to be toxic to humans and animals. Although its use and disposal have become more restricted in recent years, TCE is one of the more prevalent groundwater contaminants in the United States. Current methods exist to identify the locations of TCE at contaminated sites; however, these methods typically require destructive sampling techniques as well as time-consuming and expensive laboratory analysis. In contrast, the hyperspectral estimator is being designed as a nondestructive, quick, and lower-cost way to screen for TCE across large areas. It works by using spectral signatures to determine the presence/absence of TCE in the leaves of plants that may have absorbed the contaminant from surrounding groundwater.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing

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Time-Shifted PN Codes for CW LIDAR, RADAR, and SONAR

Algorithm eliminates channel interference and artifacts from lidar return signals.NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a waveform processing technique to eliminate signal noise resulting from sources of interference (scatterers) that can degrade continuous wave (CW) lidar return data. The algorithm was developed to enable CW lidar measurement of atmospheric gas concentrations as part of NASA’s Active Sensing of CO2 Emissions over Nights, Days, and Seasons (ASCENDS) program, but can be used to test any chemical species, such as poison gas or other trace elements in the atmosphere. The algorithm demonstrated reduction in interference resulting from thin cloud layers and other scatterers. The improvement holds the potential for significant advancement of CW lidar systems that are less expensive, of simpler design, and can be operated at higher average power than pulsed lidar systems.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing

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Data Informatics Infrastructure for the Megacities Carbon Project

With the goal of assessing the anthropogenic carbon-emission impact of urban centers on local and global climates, the Megacities Carbon Project has been building carbon-monitoring capabilities for the past two years around the Los Angeles metropolitan area as a pilot effort. Hundreds of megabytes of data are generated daily and distributed among data centers local to the sensor networks involved. These remotely generated data are then aggregated into a centralized data infrastructure located at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to provide collaboration opportunities on the data as well as generate refined data products through centralized data processing pipelines.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing

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