Question of the Week
Is 3D Printing a Promising Technology for Future Space Missions?

Industrial partners have joined with the European Space Agency (ESA) to test the feasibility of 3D printing using lunar soil. The ESA is assessing whether it is possible to build a lunar base from materials found on the moon.

Briefs: Information Technology
Measurements of Ultra-Stable Oscillator (USO) Allan Deviations in Space

Researchers have used data from the GRAIL mission to the Moon to make the first in-flight verification of ultra-stable oscillators (USOs) with Allan deviation below 10–13 for 1-to-100-second averaging times. USOs are flown in space to provide stable timing...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Rover Low Gain Antenna Qualification for Deep Space Thermal Environments

A method to qualify the Rover Low Gain Antenna (RLGA) for use during the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission has been devised. The RLGA antenna must survive all ground operations, plus the nominal 670 Martian sol mission that includes the summer and winter seasons of the...

Briefs: Software
Gaseous Nitrogen Orifice Mass Flow Calculator

The Gaseous Nitrogen (GN2) Orifice Mass Flow Calculator was used to determine Space Shuttle Orbiter Water Spray Boiler (WSB) GN2 high-pressure tank source depletion rates for various leak scenarios, and the ability of the GN2 consumables to support cooling of Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) lubrication...

There are no existing ultra-sterile lab-on- a-chip systems that can accept solid samples and perform complete chemical analyses without human intervention. The proposed...

Briefs: Information Technology
Validation of Proposed Metrics for Two-Body Abrasion Scratch Test Analysis Standards

Abrasion of mechanical components and fabrics by soil on Earth is typically minimized by the effects of atmosphere and water. Potentially abrasive particles lose sharp and pointed geometrical features through erosion. In environments where such erosion does not...

Briefs: Information Technology
Measuring and Estimating Normalized Contrast in Infrared Flash Thermography

Infrared flash thermography (IRFT) is used to detect void-like flaws in a test object. The IRFT technique involves heating up the part surface using a flash of flash lamps. The post-flash evolution of the part surface temperature is sensed by an IR camera in terms of...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Spectrally and Radiometrically Stable, Wideband, Onboard Calibration Source

The Onboard Calibration (OBC) source incorporates a medical/scientific-grade halogen source with a precisely designed fiber coupling system, and a fiber-based intensity-monitoring feedback loop that results in radiometric and spectral stabilities to within

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
High-Reliability Waveguide Vacuum/Pressure Window

The NASA Deep Space Network (DSN) uses commercial waveguide windows on the output waveguide of Ka-band (32 GHz) low-noise amplifiers. Mechanical failure of these windows resulted in an...

Technology has been developed for a class of self-contained, long-duration power sources called beta batteries, which harvest the energy contained in the...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Magnetic Shield for Adiabatic Demagnetization Refrigerators (ADR)

A new method was developed for creating a less expensive shield for ADRs using 1018 carbon steel. This shield has been designed to have similar performance to the expensive vanadium permen dur shields, but the cost is 30 to 50% less. Also, these shields can be stocked in a variety...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Adaptive Phase Delay Generator

There are several experimental setups involving rotating machinery that require some form of synchronization. The adaptive phase delay generator (APDG) — the Bencic-1000 — is a flexible instrument that...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
CMOS-Compatible SOI MESFETS for Radiation-Hardened DC-to-DC Converters

A radiation-tolerant transistor switch has been developed that can operate between –196 and +150 °C for DC-to-DC power conversion applications. A prototype buck regulator component was demonstrated to be performing well after a total ionizing dose of 300 krad(Si). The...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Silicon Heat Pipe Array

Improved methods of heat dissipation are required for modern, high-powerdensity electronic systems. As increased functionality is progressively compacted into decreasing volumes, this need will be exacerbated. High-performance chip power is predicted to increase monotonically and rapidly with time. Systems utilizing these...

Briefs: Materials
High-Temperature, Lightweight, Self- Healing Ceramic Composites for Aircraft Engine Applications

The use of reliable, high-temperature, lightweight materials in the manufacture of aircraft engines is expected to result in lower fossil and biofuel consumption, thereby leading to cost savings and lower carbon emissions due to air travel. Although...

Briefs: Materials
Treatment to Control Adhesion of Silicone-Based Elastomers

Seals are used to facilitate the joining of two items, usually temporarily. At some point in the future, it is expected that the items will need to be separated. This innovation enables control of the adhesive properties of silicone-based elastomers. The innovation may also be effective...

Briefs: Materials
High-Temperature Adhesives for Thermally Stable Aero-Assist Technologies

Aero-assist technologies are used to control the velocity of exploration vehicles (EVs) when entering Earth or other planetary atmospheres. Since entry of EVs in planetary atmospheres results in significant heating, thermally stable aero-assist technologies are required to...

A new gripper mechanism can be used as an end effector for a long arm that reaches out from a nearby spacecraft for a touch-and-go type of mission. The gripper would stabilize...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rockballer Sample Acquisition Tool

It would be desirable to acquire rock and/or ice samples that extend below the surface of the parent rock or ice in extraterrestrial environments such as the Moon, Mars, comets, and asteroids. Such samples...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Advanced Magnetic Materials Methods and Numerical Models for Fluidization in Microgravity and Hypogravity

To support long-duration manned missions in space such as a permanent lunar base, Mars transit, or Mars Surface Mission, improved methods for the treatment of solid wastes, particularly methods that recover valuable resources, are needed....

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Data Transfer for Multiple Sensor Networks Over a Broad Temperature Range

At extreme temperatures, cryogenic and over 300 °C, few electronic components are available to support intelligent data transfer over a common, linear combining medium. This innovation allows many sensors to operate on the same wire bus (or on the same airwaves or optical...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Using Combustion Synthesis to Reinforce Berms and Other Regolith Structures

The Moonraker Excavator and other tools under development for use on the Moon, Mars, and asteroids will be employed to construct a number of civil engineering projects and to mine the soil. Mounds of loose soil will be subject to the local transport mechanisms plus...

A continuing challenge for modern instrument pointing control systems is to meet the increasingly stringent pointing performance requirements imposed by emerging...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Visible-Infrared Hyperspectral Image Projector

The VisIR HIP generates spatially-spectrally complex scenes. The generated scenes simulate real-world targets viewed by various remote sensing instruments. The VisIR HIP consists of two subsystems: a spectral engine and a spatial engine. The spectral engine generates spectrally complex uniform...

Briefs: Software
Change_Detection.m

The Change_Detection.m MATLAB tool detects changes in an image by comparing the image to a background estimation. The change detection software is a MATLAB function designed to work on either a single image or a sequence of images, and computes changes with respect to a background image by one of four techniques:

Briefs: Software
Ionospheric Simulation System for Satellite Observations and Global Assimilative Modeling Experiments (ISOGAME)

ISOGAME is designed and developed to assess quantitatively the impact of new observation systems on the capability of imaging and modeling the ionosphere. With ISOGAME, one can perform observation system simulation experiments (OSSEs)....

Briefs: Software
An Extensible, User- Modifiable Framework for Planning Activities

This software provides a development framework that allows planning activities for the Mars Science Laboratory rover to be altered at any time, based on changes of the Activity Dictionary. The Activity Dictionary contains the definition of all activities that can be carried out by...

Briefs: Software
Mission Operations Center (MOC) - Precipitation Processing System (PPS) Interface Software System (MPISS)

MPISS is an automatic file transfer system that implements a combination of standard and mission-unique transfer protocols required by the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM) Precipitation Processing System (PPS) to control the...

Briefs: Software
AGATE: Adversarial Game Analysis for Tactical Evaluation

AGATE generates a set of ranked strategies that enables an autonomous vehicle to track/trail another vehicle that is trying to break the contact using evasive tactics. The software is efficient (can be run on a laptop), scales well with environmental complexity, and is suitable for use...

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