Special Coverage

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
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications
Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research

Analyzing Responses of Chemical Sensor Arrays

NASA is developing a third-generation electronic nose (ENose) capable of continuous monitoring of the International Space Station’s cabin atmosphere for specific, harmful airborne contaminants. Previous generations of the ENose have been described in prior NASA Tech Briefs issues.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Sensors and actuators, Performance upgrades, Chemicals, Spacecraft


Triaxial Probe Magnetic Data Analysis

The Triaxial Magnetic Moment Analysis software uses measured magnetic field test data to compute dipole and quadrupole moment information from a hardware element. It is used to support JPL projects needing magnetic control and an understanding of the spacecraftgenerated magnetic fields.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software and hardware, Magnetic materials, Test equipment and instrumentation, Spacecraft


Parallelization of the Coupled Earthquake Model

This Web-based tsunami simulation system allows users to remotely run a model on JPL’s supercomputers for a given undersea earthquake. At the time of this reporting, predicting tsunamis on the Internet has never happened before. This new code directly couples the earthquake model and the ocean model on parallel computers and improves simulation speed.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer simulation, Weather and climate, Vibration


Modeling of Radiative Transfer in Protostellar Disks

This program implements a spectral line, radiative transfer tool for interpreting Spitzer Space Telescope observations by matching them with models of protostellar disks for improved understanding of planet and star formation. The Spitzer Space Telescope detects gasphase molecules in the infrared spectra of protostellar disks, with spectral lines carrying information on the chemical composition of the material from which planets form. Input to the software includes chemical models developed at JPL. The products are synthetic images and spectra for comparison with Spitzer measurements.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer simulation, Optics, Chemicals, Gases


KML Super Overlay to WMS Translator

This translator is a server-based application that automatically generates KML super overlay configuration files required by Google Earth for map data access via the Open Geospatial Consortium WMS (Web Map Service) standard. The translator uses a set of URL parameters that mirror the WMS parameters as much as possible, and it also can generate a super overlay subdivision of any given area that is only loaded when needed, enabling very large areas of coverage at very high resolutions. It can make almost any dataset available as a WMS service visible and usable in any KML application, without the need to reformat the data.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Communication protocols, Internet, Data management


High-Performance Tiled WMS and KML Web Server

This software is an Apache 2.0 module implementing a high-performance map server to support interactive map viewers and virtual planet client software. It can be used in applications that require access to very-high-resolution geolocated images, such as GIS, virtual planet applications, and flight simulators. It serves Web Map Service (WMS) requests that comply with a given request grid from an existing tile dataset. It also generates the KML super-overlay configuration files required to access the WMS image tiles. This server can sustain extremely high request rates with very short request latencies in both WMS and KML protocols. It does not require significant computer resources and can operate from read-only media.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Cartography, Computer software and hardware, Imaging and visualization, Internet


Displaying Properties of PDFs

PDFVis is a computer program that assists in visualization of uncertainty as represented by a probability density function (PDF) located at each grid cell in a spatial domain. PDFVis performs the following functions:

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Statistical analysis, Computer software and hardware


Flyby Geometry Optimization Tool

The Flyby Geometry Optimization Tool is a computer program for computing trajectories and trajectory-altering impulsive maneuvers for spacecraft used in radio relay of scientific data to Earth from an exploratory airplane flying in the atmosphere of Mars. This program implements a genetic algorithm (GA) to choose trajectories to maximize the volume of data relayed via at least one of three spacecraft: a main spacecraft in a hyperbolic orbit and two alternate spacecraft in elliptical orbits about Mars. [The GA approach is ideal for this type of optimization problem, wherein discrete data-transmission rates lead to discontinuities in data-collection volumes that one seeks to maximize. Such discontinuities are typically problematic for other optimization methods — especially, gradient search methods.]

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Trajectory control, Mathematical models, Computer software and hardware, Spacecraft


WMAP C&DH Software

The command- and-data- handling (C&DH) software of the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) spacecraft functions as the sole interface between (1) the spacecraft and its instrument subsystem and (2) ground operations equipment. This software includes a command-decoding and -distribution system, a telemetry/ datahandling system, and a data-storage-and- playback system. This software performs onboard processing of attitude sensor data and generates commands for attitude-control actuators in a closed-loop fashion. It also processes stored commands and monitors health and safety functions for the spacecraft and its instrument subsystems. The basic functionality of this software is the same of that of the older C&DH software of the Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) spacecraft, the main difference being the addition of the attitude-control functionality. Previously, the C&DH and attitude-control computations were performed by different processors because a single RXTE processor did not have enough processing power. The WMAP spacecraft includes a more-powerful processor capable of performing both computations. This program was written by Alan Cudmore, Tim Leath, Art Ferrer, Todd Miller, Mark Walters, Bruce Savadkin, and Ji-Wei Wu of Goddard Space Flight Center; Steve Slegel of Daedalian Systems Corp.; and Emory Stagmer of Litton/PRC.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Attitude control, Computer software and hardware, Spacecraft guidance, Data management


Automated Diagnosis and Control of Complex Systems

  Artist’s conception of the New Milennium Deep Space One Probe.Livingstone2 is a reusable, artificial intelligence (AI) software system designed to assist spacecraft, life support systems, chemical plants, or other complex systems by operating with minimal human supervision, even in the face of hardware failures or unexpected events. The software diagnoses the current state of the spacecraft or other system, and recommends commands or repair actions that will allow the system to continue operation. Livingstone2 is an enhancement of the Livingstone diagnosis system that was flight-tested onboard the Deep Space One spacecraft in 1999 (see figure). This version tracks multiple diagnostic hypotheses, rather than just a single hypothesis as in the previous version. It is also able to revise diagnostic decisions made in the past when additional observations become available. In such cases, Livingstone might arrive at an incorrect hypothesis.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Artificial intelligence, Computer software and hardware, On-board diagnostics, On-board diagnostics (OBD), Spacecraft


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