A comprehensive library of technical briefs from engineering experts at NASA and major government, university, and commercial laboratories covering all aspects of innovations in electronics, software, photonics, imaging, motion control, automation, sensors, test, materials, manufacturing, mechanical, and mechatronics.

Briefs: Imaging
NASA Vision Workbench (VWB)

VWB is a modular, extensible computer vision framework that supports tasks including automated science and engineering analysis, large satellite image processing, and 2D/3D environment reconstruction. The framework provides a rapid C++ development environment as well as a flexible, multi-platform system to deploy...

Briefs: Imaging
Flight Proving a Heliophysics Soft X-Ray Imager

The interaction between the solar wind and the Earth’s magneto - sphere results in “space weather.” To determine the true nature of the solar wind-magnetosphere interaction, scientists require global measurements of processes occurring at the bow shock, in the magnetosheath, and at the...

Briefs: Imaging
Intensity Interferometry Image Recovery

This software extends the well-known error-reduction Gerchberg-Saxton method to imaging of dark objects, assuming that such an object partially shadows a well-characterized thermal light source, while the shadow cannot be used for inferring the object’s shape. These assumptions are reasonable for a wide...

Briefs: Imaging
Cameras for All-Sky Meteor Surveillance (CAMS) Version 1.3

The CAMS system comprises a deployment of multiple narrow-field, low-light video cameras that completely covers the sky in a mosaic pattern from 30° elevation and above. Two or three such camera batteries separated by many kilometers allow for large atmospheric volume coverage, high...

Briefs: Imaging
Normalized Cross Correlation FPGA Implementation

A safe and precise landing system for Mars will match features seen in descent imagery against a map constructed from orbital imagery. The spacecraft attitude and altitude are known, but lateral position is known only poorly. From attitude and altitude, one can generate a mapping (homography) that...

Briefs: Imaging
Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis for Monitoring Hazards (ARIA-MH)

Space-based geodetic measurement techniques such as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and Continuous Global Positioning System (CGPS) are now critical elements in the toolset for monitoring earthquake-generating faults, volcanic eruptions, landslides, glacial...

Briefs: Imaging
Next-Generation Integrated Camera (NIC)

Design and fabrication of a modern, compact, highly modular, and extreme-environment-capable replacement have been proposed for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) camera. This next-generation camera is based on a CMOS (complementary metal-oxidesemiconductor) imager rather than a CCD (charge-coupled device)...

Briefs: Imaging
Homography Warp Image FPGA Implementation

A landing system for Mars matches features seen in descent imagery against a map constructed from orbital imagery. The spacecraft attitude and altitude are known, but lateral position is known only poorly. From attitude and altitude, one can generate a mapping (homography) that allows the descent image...

DC protection systems such as circuit breakers play a key enabling role for the DC power system in applications such as aviation, the power grid, and the like. Conventional...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Modular Propulsion and Deployment Electronics System

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) required an innovative and modular approach to the design and development of the electronics needed to control the propulsion and deployment components, as well as the electronics necessary to support safety inhibits for personnel and range requirements....

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
All-Organic Electroactive Device Fabricated with Single- Wall Carbon Nanotube Film Electrode

A novel, all-organic electroactive device system has been fabricated with a single-wall carbon nanotube (SWCNT) film used as an alternative electrode. This system was fabricated with LaRC-Electro Active Polymer (LaRC-EAP) active layer and the SWCNT films...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Purifying Hydrogen for a Life Support Process

NASA’s endeavor to further enable long-duration manned space exploration requires further closure of the oxygen loop of the life support system that is currently realized aboard the International Space Station. Currently, oxygen is recovered from crew-generated carbon dioxide via the use of a...

With the correct selection of composition, some bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) have been demonstrated that have excellent combinations of hardness, fracture...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Lunar Materials Handling System

A method was developed for transfer of lunar soil into and out of process equipment. The Lunar Materials Handling System (LMHS) conveys solids to a process vessel, provides a gas-tight seal, prevents seal contamination, and minimizes wear from abrasive particles. The LMHS increases equipment life and minimizes...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Two-Dimensional Dropped Sensor Suite

There are locations that are either too hazardous to land and gather data, or not practical to land. Also, data may need to be gathered from multiple (tens to hundreds) locations (sometimes at once). This...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Controlling Execution Sequence Using Tactile-Classification During Manipulation by a Humanoid Robot

It is necessary to track system state during robotic manipulation. System state is defined to be manipulator and environment configuration. Without tracking, the robot is ignorant of the outcomes of its actions. State tracking enables the robot to...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Autonomous Guidance Algorithm to Auto-Pilot Spacecraft in the Vicinity of Primitive Celestial Bodies

The dynamics in the vicinity of small bodies are highly nonlinear. Trajectory design in small-body environments requires accurate gravity and solar radiation pressure models to guarantee the satisfaction of spacecraft operational constraints such...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Safe Maritime Autonomous Path Planning in a High Sea State

The goal of this work was to develop algorithms and software to generate a path that takes into account the direction of waves and wind as much as possible in order to mitigate potential damage to an autonomous underwater vehicle. A risk-based path planning algorithm to analyze...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Human Grasp Assist

Repetitive manual operations can degrade the work efficiency of a human operator over time, with the cumulative stresses of repetitive motion potentially affecting the resultant product quality and/or process efficiency. Accordingly, a lightweight, motorized device has been created that a user/operator may wear on a hand and...

Briefs: Aerospace
Scientific Balloons as Solar Sails

Existing scientific research balloons such as those launched from Wallops Flight Facility could be placed in near- Earth space where they would perform as solar sails, providing relatively inexpensive propulsion systems for interplanetary missions. The balloons would accelerate at rates comparable with the ion...

Briefs: Aerospace
Non-Thermal, Plasma-Assisted Catalytic Reactor for CO2 Methanation

Converting in-situ resources such as CO2, which is the main component of the Mars atmosphere, into methane for rocket propellants can significantly reduce the cost and risk of human exploration while at the same time enabling new mission concepts and long-term...

Briefs: Aerospace
Sea-Level Flight Demonstration Altitude Characterization of a LO2/LCH4-Based Ascent Propulsion Lander

A recently developed 1,500-lbf (6,672-N) thrust-class liquid oxygen/liquid methane (LO2/LCH4) rocket engine was tested at both sea level and simulated altitude conditions. Sea-level tests were conducted using both a static...

Briefs: Aerospace
Improved Hall Thrusters Fed by Solid Phase Propellant

Hall thrusters normally use Xe propellant, which is expensive and scarce in the solar system. The weight of Xe is such that typical Hall thrusters are limited in specific impulse to approximately 3,000 s. The objective of this program was to improve and demonstrate Mg Hall thruster systems....

Briefs: Aerospace
Aerodynamics Model for a Solid Rocket Booster

NASA required an aerodynamics model of a spent solid rocket booster (SRB) to predict trajectory and impact location of the Ares I first stage after separation. The software needed to be integrated into new simulations written in C. Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) had previously developed a solid...

Briefs: Medical
Intranasal Scopolamine — INSCOP

Space motion sickness (SMS) commonly experienced by astronauts during a space mission often requires treatment with medication. However, exposure to a microgravity environment results in a myriad of physiological changes that alter bioavailability. In particular, studies indicate that the bioavailability of oral...

Briefs: Medical
Microbial Isolates from Research Activities as a Biological Resource

International treaty requires spacecraft landing on planetary surfaces that may have water present, or may have supported life in the past, to adhere to strict guidelines governing the microbial contaminants that are incidentally present in, and on, spacecraft hardware...

Chromosomal inversions, such as those occurring following exposure to ionizing radiation, are especially difficult to detect by current techniques. Therefore, their true frequency and...

Briefs: Medical
Guidelines for Meal Replacement Bars in a Space Food System

To decrease the mass of the space food system and still maintain the nutritional intake of a mission crew, meal replacement bars and beverages are desired to supplement the menu and serve as meal alternatives. Nutritional requirements for such replacement products for breakfast and...

Briefs: Information Technology
Selective Access and Editing in a Database

A complex organization with many tasks and sub-tasks, many phases, and many workers often will have an associated database with many users and groups, each of whom has a limited “need to know” (e.g. fine-grained security access controls) that does not extend to all information in the database. A...

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