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 : Physical Sciences
Vision-Aided Autonomous Landing and Ingress of Micro Aerial Vehicles

Micro aerial vehicles have limited sensor suites and computational power. For reconnaissance tasks and to conserve energy, these systems need the ability to autonomously land at vantage points or enter buildings (ingress). But for autonomous navigation, information is needed to...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Whispering Gallery Mode Optomechanical Resonator

Great progress has been made in both micromechanical resonators and microoptical resonators over the past decade, and a new field has recently emerged combining these mechanical and optical systems. In such optomechanical systems, the two resonators are strongly coupled with one influencing the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Self-Sealing Wet Chemistry Cell for Field Analysis

In most analytical investigations, there is a need to process complex field samples for the unique detection of analytes, especially when detecting low-concentration organic molecules that may identify extraterrestrial life. Wet chemistry based instruments are the techniques of choice for most...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Multiplexed Force and Deflection Sensing Shell Membranes for Robotic Manipulators

Force sensing is an essential requirement for dexterous robot manipulation, e.g., for extravehicular robots making vehicle repairs. Although strain gauges have been widely used, a new sensing approach is desirable for applications that require greater robustness,...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mars Technology Rover with Arm-Mounted Percussive Coring Tool, Microimager, and Sample-Handling Encapsulation Containerization Subsystem

A report describes the PLuto (programmable logic) Mars Technology Rover, a mid-sized FIDO (field integrated design and operations) class rover with six fully drivable and steerable cleated wheels, a...

Briefs : Software
Conjugate Heat Transfer

The controlled transfer of heat from a component to its surroundings is critical for the operation of many industrial processes. For example, cooling of electronics components is needed to maintain safe operation and extend operating lifetime, while quenching of materials from elevated temperatures is often required to...

Briefs : Software
Surface Plasmon Resonance

Surface plasmons are coherent electron oscillations that exist at the interface between any two materials where the real part of the dielectric function changes sign across the interface. Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) can be used to detect molecular adsorption on surfaces, and consequently is of significance for...

Briefs : Software
Software Creates and Analyzes Lightning Protection Solutions for Wind Turbines

Highvoltage.dk is a Danish consulting engineering firm with expertise in lightning protection and high-voltage engineering. The company, founded in 2005, tackles complex problems such as general high-voltage design engineering for the power industry, lightning...

Briefs : Software
Computing Radiative Transfer in a 3D Medium

A package of software computes the time-dependent propagation of a narrow laser beam in an arbitrary threedimensional (3D) medium with absorption and scattering, using the transientdiscrete- ordinates method and a direct integration method. Unlike prior software that utilizes a Monte Carlo method, this...

Briefs : Software
Water Detection Based on Object Reflections

Water bodies are challenging terrain hazards for terrestrial unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) for several reasons. Traversing through deep water bodies could cause costly damage to the electronics of UGVs. Additionally, a UGV that is either broken down due to water damage or becomes stuck in a water...

Briefs : Software
SATPLOT for Analysis of SECCHI Heliospheric Imager Data

Determining trajectories of solar transients such as coronal mass ejections is not always easy. White light images from SECCHI’s (Sun Earth Connection Coronal and Heliospheric Investigation) heliospheric imagers are difficult to interpret because they represent a lineof- sight projection...

Briefs : Software
Low-Cost Telemetry System for Small/Micro Satellites

A Software Defined Radio (SDR) concept uses a minimum amount of analog/radio frequency components to up/downconvert the RF signal to/from a digital format. Once in the digital domain, all other processing (filtering, modulation, demodulation, etc.) is done in software. The project will...

Briefs : Software
Plug-in Plan Tool v3.0.3.1

The role of PLUTO (Plug-in Port UTilization Officer) and the growth of the International Space Station (ISS) have exceeded the capabilities of the current tool PiP (Plug-in Plan). Its users (crew and flight controllers) have expressed an interest in a new, easy-touse tool with a higher level of interactivity and...

Briefs : Software
Architectural Implementation of NASA Space Telecommunications Radio System Specification

This software demonstrates a working implementation of the NASA STRS (Space Telecommunications Radio System) architecture specification. This is a developing specification of software architecture and required interfaces to provide commonality among future...

Briefs : Software
Autonomous Rover Traverse and Precise Arm Placement on Remotely Designated Targets

This software controls a rover platform to traverse rocky terrain autonomously, plan paths, and avoid obstacles using its stereo hazard and navigation cameras. It does so while continuously tracking a target of interest selected from 10–20 m away. The rover...

Briefs : Software
Operator Interface and Control Software for the Reconfigurable Surface System Tri-ATHLETE

Graphical operator interface methods have been developed for modular, reconfigurable articulated surface systems in general, and a specific instantiation thereof for JPL’s Tri-ATHLETE. The All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra- Terrestrial Explorer Robot (ATHLETE)...

Briefs : Software
Nonlinear Estimation Approach to Real-Time Georegistration from Aerial Images

When taking aerial images, it is important to know locations of specific points of interest in an Earth-centered coordinate system (latitude, longitude, height) (see figure). The correspondence between a pixel location in the image and its Earth coordinate is known as...

Briefs : Software
Optimal Force Control of Vibro-Impact Systems for Autonomous Drilling Applications

The need to maintain optimal energy efficiency is critical during the drilling operations performed on future and current planetary rover missions (see figure). Specifically, this innovation seeks to solve the following problem. Given a spring-loaded percussive...

Briefs : Software
Journal and Wave Bearing Impedance Calculation Software

The wave bearing software suite is a MALTA application that computes bearing properties for user-specified wave bearing conditions, as well as plain journal bearings. Wave bearings are fluid film journal bearings with multi-lobed wave patterns around the circumference of the bearing...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Scalable Integrated Multi-Mission Support System (SIMSS) Simulator Release 2.0 for GMSEC

Scalable Integrated Multi-Mission Support System (SIMSS) Simulator Release 2.0 software is designed to perform a variety of test activities related to spacecraft simulations and ground segment checks. This innovation uses the existing SIMSS framework, which...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Linked-List-Based Multibody Dynamics (MBDyn) Engine

This new release of MBDyn is a software engine that calculates the dynamics states of kinematic, rigid, or flexible multibody systems. An MBDyn multibody system may consist of multiple groups of articulated chains, trees, or closed-loop topologies. Transient top ologies are handled through...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Frequency Correction for MIRO Chirp Transformation Spectroscopy Spectrum

This software processes the flyby spectra of the Chirp Transform Spectrometer (CTS) of the Microwave Instrument for Rosetta Orbiter (MIRO). The tool corrects the effect of Doppler shift and local-oscillator (LO) frequency shift during the flyby mode of MIRO operations. The...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Jet and Tropopause Products for Analysis and Characterization (JETPAC)

This suite of IDL programs provides identification and comprehensive characterization of the dynamical features of the jet streams in the upper troposphere, the lower stratospheric polar night jet, and the tropopause. The output of this software not only provides...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Multi-Mission Power Analysis Tool (MMPAT) Version 3

The Multi-Mission Power Analysis Tool (MMPAT) simulates a spacecraft power subsystem including the power source (solar array and/or radioisotope thermoelectric generator), bus-voltage control, secondary battery (lithium-ion or nickel-hydrogen), thermostatic heaters, and power-consuming...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Jupiter Environment Tool

The Jupiter Environment Tool (JET) is a custom UI plug-in for STK that provides an interface to Jupiter environment models for visualization and analysis. Users can visualize the different magnetic field models of Jupiter through various rendering methods, which are fully integrated within STK’s 3D Window. This allows...

Briefs : Software
WGM Temperature Tracker

This software implements digital control of a WGM resonator temperature based on the dual-mode approach. It comprises one acquisition and three modules. Interaction proportional-integral loops is designed in original way preventing from fighting. Data processing organized parallel with which allows computational overhead...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Large Terrain Continuous Level of Detail 3D Visualization Tool

This software solved the problem of displaying terrains that are usually too large to be displayed on standard workstations in real time. The software can visualize terrain data sets composed of billions of vertices, and can display these data sets at greater than 30 frames per...

Briefs : Software
Earth-Science Data Co-Locating Tool

This software is used to locate Earthscience satellite data and climate-model analysis outputs in space and time. This enables the direct comparison of any set of data with different spatial and temporal resolutions. It is written in three separate modules that are clearly separated for their functionality and...

Briefs : Information Technology
Algorithms for Determining Physical Responses of Structures Under Load

Ultra-efficient real-time structural monitoring algorithms have been developed to provide extensive information about the physical response of structures under load. These algorithms are driven by actual strain data to measure accurately local strains at multiple locations on...

Briefs : Software
CometQuest: A Rosetta Adventure

CometQuest is an educational Apple iPhone game outlining the Rosetta mission to comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Its goal is to provide an enjoyable means to learn about the Rosetta mission through action gameplay where the player takes the role of Rosetta’s mission operator and tries to capture and record as much...

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