Workers at NASA Ames Research Center are developing durable, oxidation-resistant, foam thermal protection systems (TPSs) that would be suitable for covering large exterior spacecraft surfaces. The TPSs would have low to moderate densities, and temperature capabilities comparable to those of carbon-based TPSs, which are reusable at 3,000 degrees F. These foams might be useful as catalyst supports and filters on Earth and in outer space.
A lightweight, low-power camera dart has been designed and tested by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for context imaging of sampling sites and ground surveys from an aerobot or an orbiting spacecraft in a microgravity environment. The camera penetrators also can be used to image any line-of-sight surfaces, such as cliff walls, that are difficult to access. The disposable, wireless camera darts can be used in zero G.