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

Processing AIRS Scientific Data Through Level 2

The Atmospheric Infrared Spectrometer (AIRS) Science Processing System (SPS) is a collection of computer programs, denoted product generation executives (PGEs), for processing the readings of the AIRS suite of infrared and microwave instruments orbiting the Earth aboard NASA’s Aqua spacecraft. AIRS SPS at an earlier stage of development was described in “Initial Processing of Infrared Spectral Data” (NPO-35243), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 28, No. 11 (November 2004), page 39. To recapitulate: Starting from level 0 (representing raw AIRS data), the PGEs and their data products are denoted by alphanumeric labels (1A, 1B, and 2) that signify the successive stages of processing. The cited prior article described processing through level 1B (the level-2 PGEs were not yet operational).

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Imaging and visualization, Data management, Documentation, Spacecraft


PREDICTS is a computer program that predicts the frequencies, as functions of time, of signals to be received by a radio science receiver — in this case, a special-purpose digital receiver dedicated to analysis of signals received by an antenna in NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN). Unlike other software used in the DSN, PREDICTS does not use interpolation early in the calculations; as a consequence, PREDICTS is more precise and more stable. The precision afforded by the other DSN software is sufficient for telemetry; the greater precision afforded by PREDICTS is needed for radio-science experiments. In addition to frequencies as a function of time, PREDICTS yields the rates of change and interpolation coefficients for the frequencies and the beginning and ending times of reception, transmission, and occultation.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Antennas, Computer software and hardware, Reliability

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

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