Special Coverage

Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space
Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines
Vibration Tables Shake Up Aerospace and Car Testing
Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing

Do-It-Yourself Additives Recharge Auto Air Conditioning

NASA spinoff can help your car keep its cool.

Having your car’s air conditioner lose its cool on a hot day can make for an uncomfortable ride. A breakdown in thermal control in space is far more than a matter of comfort; on the Moon, for example, the temperatures can reach a scorching 260 °F during the day. In planning for future space missions, NASA aimed to improve the thermal control systems that keep astronauts comfortable and cool while inside a spacecraft.

Posted in: Articles, Automotive, Air conditioning, Passenger compartments, Cooling, Spacecraft
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3D Visualization in Geospatial Analysis

The past decade has seen an explosion of observations from airborne and satellite-based multiand hyperspectral sensors, as well as from synthetic-aperture radar and LiDAR. Distilling useful information from this wealth of raw data is the domain of geospatial analysis, the collection of analytical, statistical, and heuristic methods for extracting information from georeferenced data. This information is important in serving the needs of a diverse set of industries including environmental conservation, oil and gas exploration, defense and intelligence, agriculture, coastal monitoring, forestry, and mining.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Cartography, Imaging and visualization, Data management
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Digital Imaging Systems for Ballistics Testing

Traditionally, the recording of ordnance proofing data has been split into two main areas: instrumentation and high speed photography. Instrumentation was more focused on the collection of analytical data from various instruments, e.g. Doppler radar, yaw screens (for pitch and yaw), and velocity traps (i.e. skyscreens or acoustic triggers), whereas high speed photography was more concerned with obtaining high quality images for later qualitative analysis. The photographic images were obtained using an assortment of high speed film cameras, often requiring a specialist photographic team to survey in, set up and align the camera, illuminate the subject, synchronise the camera to the firing system, process the film records and produce the final images for later manual analysis.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Photonics, Optics, Test equipment and instrumentation
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NASA Begins a New Journey of Exploration

“Tonight, on the planet Mars, the United States of America made history. The successful landing of Curiosity – the most sophisticated roving laboratory ever to land on another planet – marks an unprecedented feat of technology that will stand as a point of national pride far into the future. It proves that even the longest of odds are no match for our unique blend of ingenuity and determination. Tonight’s success reminds us that our preeminence – not just in space, but here on Earth – depends on continuing to invest wisely in the innovation, technology, and basic research that has always made our economy the envy of the world. I congratulate and thank all the men and women of NASA who made this remarkable accomplishment a reality – and I eagerly await what Curiosity has yet to discover.” - President Barack Obama, August 6, 2012

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Historical reference, Research and development, Entry, descent, and landing, Spacecraft
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Talking Mars

NASA Tech Briefs recently spoke with Doug McCuistion, Director of the Mars Exploration Program, and Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program and Program Scientist for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). We talked about what NASA hopes to find, the technologies used onboard, and how the two-year mission is expected to progress.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Systems engineering, Technical review, Spacecraft
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The Technology of Curiosity

On April 14, 2004, NASA announced an opportunity for researchers to propose science investigations for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. Eight months later, the agency announced selection of eight investigations. In addition, Spain and Russia would each provide an investigation through international agreements. The instruments for these ten investigations make up the science payload on the Curiosity rover.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Globalization, Test equipment and instrumentation, Test procedures, Spacecraft
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An Ionic Twist on Hair Care

Nanomaterials developed by NASA play a big role in professional hairstyling tools.

Disinfecting can be dirty work. Typical cleaning agents, like chlorine and alcohol, release fumes that don’t go away when applied in the contained environment of a spacecraft. So NASA scientists developed an alternative method to keep surfaces disinfected, using a material whose antimicrobial properties have long been known: nanosilver.

Posted in: Articles, Nanotechnology, Bacteria, Human factors, Ceramics, Materials properties, Nanomaterials
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The GigE Vision® Interface Standard: Transforming Medical Imaging

Live, high-resolution imaging is increasingly being leveraged to enhance operating procedures. It can improve the precision of physicians and their instruments, and minimize the invasiveness of many procedures. Increasingly, one small component in a vision system — the interfacing technology — is providing answers to the most common of these challenges.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Architecture, Imaging and visualization, Human machine interface (HMI), Medical equipment and supplies, Displays, Performance upgrades
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Industry Contributions to Mars Rover

To accomplish its missions, NASA relies on the support of hundreds of contractors and suppliers. Here's a look at some of the companies that contributed to the Mars Science Laboratory and the future success of Curiosity’s mission on the Red Planet.

Posted in: Articles, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Suppliers, Spacecraft
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The Future Looks Dimmer

New LED Controller Technology Could Make Dimming Problems a Thing of the Past

Originally fueled by environmental concerns and the steadily rising cost of electricity, the market for energy- efficient lighting has been dramatically accelerated by regulations that will restrict the sale of most incandescent bulbs in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting, Powering & Controlling LEDs
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