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Advanced Navigation Strategies for Asteroid Sample Return Missions

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Sample-return missions to primitive solar system bodies (asteroids, comets, and planetary satellites) can provide a wealth of scientific information and insight into the composition and origins of the solar system. Recent interest in primitive body missions has been driven by the possibility of human near-Earth object missions, Earth conjunction analysis, and scientific discovery. Precision navigation to acquire a sample from a primitive solar system body and return it to Earth presents unique challenges beyond traditional Earth-based and interplanetary missions.

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Half-Cycle Crack Growth

Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, California Half-Cycle Crack Growth software offers a reliable method for calculating theoretical fatigue crack growths that could lead to catastrophic structural component failures. The program builds upon and integrates Armstrong’s proven half-cycle and closed-form aging theories, and considers every half-cycle of loading spectra for specific structural components. The program works by reading test data files and determining maximum and minimum loads of each half-cycle of random loading spectra in order to calculate theoretical crack growth. The innovation is an improvement on traditional prediction software (and in particular, on visual inspections) because it considers mini-amplitude stress loading and half-cycles based on the duty cycle of a particular component or structure. Developed to calculate the number of operational life flights for B-52B pylon hooks at Armstrong testing facilities, the program and underlying theories can be applied to estimate the service life of any critical structural component, making it suitable for use in other industries, especially for construction and petrochemical firms.

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NASA Visualization Explorer

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland NASA Visualization Explorer (NASA Viz) is an intuitive, interactive iOS application (app) that delivers science stories with multimedia content linking high-quality explorable images, descriptive text, visualizations, videos, and interviews with a fresh look and feel. NASA Viz aims to excite a wide audience about Goddard’s research, science efforts, and talent, and educate the audience about NASA science in an informal, highly visual environment.

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Simple Safe Site Selection (S4) Algorithm

This is a much more computationally efficient method for finding safe landing sites. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California This hazard avoidance algorithm uses a single flash lidar range image to select a safe landing site for NASA missions. The advantage of flash lidar is that the entire range image is captured instantaneously, and therefore, is trajectory-independent. This is unlike a scanning lidar on a moving vehicle, where ranges have to be assembled in spacetime to form a complete range image.

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Fast Classification Method for Multivariate Mixtures of Spectroscopic Responses

Method uses a large database composed of correlated predictors. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California In many fields of spectroscopy, classification of the measured multivariate response is not always a straightforward process. Accurate classification is limited by many factors that are highly dependent upon the spectroscopy method being utilized. In all cases, however, the classification process is complicated by the complexity of the multivariate response, the quality and size of the database being utilized, and the ever present, clouding contaminants of noise and undesired background. A new classification scheme addresses these complications with a very fast, simple, and easily implemented algorithm that allows one to easily and quite accurately identify individual features of spectroscopic mixtures. The method is applied to Raman spectroscopy with the use of the RRUFF database for classification of mineralogical mixtures acquired using a time-gated Raman spectrometer.

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Feature Database

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California The primary function of the Feature Database (FDB) is to contain information about all the ground features seen so far in a sequence of aerial images. This information is organized so that features can be efficiently located and tracked into later images. As each new image is processed, the database grows to include more images and more features. Feature tracking is a basic component of a number of general-purpose computer vision algorithms, with wide applicability in aeronautical and space activities such as terrain modeling, mapping, GPS-denied navigation, and geo-registration. The Feature Database extends feature tracking capabilities, and should enhance its use in these kinds of applications.

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DRAT: A Distributed Release Audit Tool

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California DRAT software overcomes limitations inherent in the Apache Release Audit Tool (RAT), and also brings code auditing and open-source license analysis into the realm of Big Data by using scalable, open-source Apache technologies. Distributed RAT (DRAT) leverages Apache Tika to automatically detect and classify files in source code repositories, and determines what in the code is a binary file, what is source code, what are notes that need skipping, etc.

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