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

Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT) Science Simulator

This program simulates ocean topography observations for generating ocean circulation models.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

The SWOT Science Simulator simulates projected SWOT altimetry observations that can be applied to an ocean general circulation model, allowing the exploration of ideas and methods to optimize information retrieval from the proposed SWOT Mission, which is currently baselined to launch in 2020.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Green Design & Manufacturing, Physical Sciences, Simulation and modeling
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Digital Elevation Model Maker (DEMmaker)

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

The DEMmaker suite of software applications produces data products containing surface shape, reflectivity, and geomorphology (craters and rocks) for a desired planetary surface based on statistically accurate size and frequency distributions of geologic and surface impact features. The current version can produce models at virtually any resolution or size for any location on the Moon. Remote sensing data can be incorporated to underlie the synthetic landscape with real data where available. The software suite is driven by a graphical user interface (GUI) that lets the user specify which tools of the suite to run, allowing flexibility in the products output by the package.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Green Design & Manufacturing, Physical Sciences, Simulation and modeling, Computer software and hardware
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Terrestrial Observation and Prediction System (TOPS)

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

TOPS is a modeling software system that integrates data from satellite, aircraft, and ground sensors, and weather/climate models with application models to expeditiously produce operational nowcasts and forecasts of ecological conditions. TOPS allows determination of the options for different socio-economic and resource management approaches to dealing with fluctuations within our biosphere, and will help in mitigating potential negative impacts.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Physical Sciences, Simulation and modeling, Computer software and hardware
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Images of Change for iPad

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Images of Change provides a user-friendly mobile interface for exploring an extensive gallery of land-based and space-based images showing dramatic change over time on Earth. Hosted on NASA’s Global Climate Change website, Images of Change is designed to raise awareness of climate change, inspire curiosity and interest in the programs that create the images, and highlight the importance of global climate change research.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Physical Sciences, Imaging and visualization
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Characteristics of the Spliced Kennedy Space Center Doppler Radar Wind Profiler Database

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama

NASA relies on the Natural Environments (NE) Branch located at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) to provide databases that represent the wind magnitudes and wind changes expected on day-of-launch (DOL) for vehicle programs that MSFC NE supports. MSFC NE has traditionally utilized weather balloon measurements to generate the wind profiles used in DOL loads and trajectory simulations. However, balloon measurement archives have three limitations in that (1) they do not contain a large enough sample to adequately represent the wind environment at extreme percentiles, (2) balloons could misrepresent the aloft wind environment due to their rise rate and drift characteristics, and (3) the Space Shuttle Program’s operational requirements significantly drove the atmosphere databases’ development. To help mitigate these limitations, MSFC NE used the 50-MHz Doppler Radar Wind Profiler (DRWP) at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) to validate balloon measurements on DOL during the SSP.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Physical Sciences, Radar, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Watching Alloys Change Could Lead to Better Metals

If you put a camera in the ice machine and watched water turn into ice, the process would look simple. But the mechanism behind liquids turning to solids is actually quite complex, and understanding it better could improve design and production of metals. A recent investigation aboard the International Space Station (ISS) involved experiments using transparent alloys to observe microstructures that form at the point the material solidifies.

Posted in: UpFront, Materials, Physical Sciences
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Hydrogen Peroxide for Microbial Growth Control in Space Potable Water Systems

This on-demand generator can provide the needed hydrogen peroxide levels for microbial growth control in potable water holding tanks and waterlines.

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama

NASA uses a biocide to prevent contamination of astronaut drinking water with harmful microorganisms. Concerns have arisen over existing biocides — that they’re inadequately effective, and may have toxic side effects when consumed. New microbial control methods are a priority. This need is addressed by using an electrochemical reactor for on-demand generation of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) solutions. The device uses onboard resources only. The method eliminates the need for resupply items (reducing launch costs), and reduces toxicity risk.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Green Design & Manufacturing, Physical Sciences, Containers
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Method of Water Regeneration From Waste and Cascade Distillation

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

Effective recovery of potable water from various streams and sources of wastewater, seawater, or contaminated water is a significant task for securing existence of human beings in space, terrestrial, and marine environments. Efficient purification of the wastewater is also a very important task for protection of the global environment. The existing and known methods of recovery of clean water from the wastewater are technically complicated, have low energy efficiency, consume processing material, and are bulky, heavy, and not cost effective.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Recycling Technologies, Physical Sciences, Water reclamation
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Optical Fiber for Solar Cells

These materials enable new solar-powered devices that are small, lightweight, and can be used without connection to existing electrical grids.

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

Polymeric and inorganic semiconductors offer relatively high quantum efficiencies, and are much less expensive and versatile to fabricate than non-amorphous silicon wafers. An optical fiber and cladding can be designed and fabricated to confine light for transport within ultraviolet and near-infrared media, using evanescent waves, and to transmit visible wavelength light for direct lighting.

Posted in: Briefs, Energy, Energy Storage, Solar Power, Materials, Fiber Optics, Physical Sciences, Solar energy, Fibers, Polymers, Semiconductors
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Pumped Subsea Energy Storage

This technique would be applicable to offshore oil platforms and energy storage for public utilities.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

A local energy source is desired for near-shore and offshore applications. Gas generators, diesel generators, and long-length submerged power cables tend to be expensive. A proposed solution is to use offshore wind with some type of energy storage mechanism for up to 1 GW-h. Energy storage in batteries is too expensive and massive, and subsea compressed air energy storage (CAES) has not been proven for very deep depths. Furthermore, CAES involves very great temperature changes that result in large inefficiencies.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Solar Power, Wind Power, Physical Sciences, Energy storage systems, Wind power, Marine vehicles and equipment
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