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: Information Technology
PowderSim: Lagrangian Discrete and Mesh-Free Continuum Simulation Code for Cohesive Soils

PowderSim is a calculation tool that combines a discrete-element method (DEM) module, including calibrated interparticle- interaction relationships, with a mesh-free, continuum, SPH (smoothed-particle hydrodynamics) based module that utilizes enhanced,...

Briefs: Information Technology
Basic Operational Robotics Instructional System

The Basic Operational Robotics Instructional System (BORIS) is a sixdegree- of-freedom rotational robotic manipulator system simulation used for training of fundamental robotics concepts, with in-line shoulder, offset elbow, and offset wrist. BORIS is used to provide generic robotics training to...

Briefs: Information Technology
Multiple-Frame Detection of Subpixel Targets in Thermal Image Sequences

The new technology in this approach combines the subpixel detection information from multiple frames of a sequence to achieve a more sensitive detection result, using only the information found in the images themselves. It is taken as a constraint that the method is...

Briefs: Information Technology
Metric Learning to Enhance Hyperspectral Image Segmentation

Unsupervised hyperspectral image segmentation can reveal spatial trends that show the physical structure of the scene to an analyst. They highlight borders and reveal areas of homogeneity and change. Segmentations are independently helpful for object recognition, and assist with...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Sheet Membrane Spacesuit Water Membrane Evaporator

A document describes a sheet membrane spacesuit water membrane evaporator (SWME), which allows for the use of one common water tank that can supply cooling water to the astronaut and to the evaporator. Test data showed that heat rejection performance dropped only 6 percent after being subjected...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Motor Qualification for Long-Duration Mars Missions

Qualification of motors for deep space under extreme thermal environments to be encountered during the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission is required to verify the reliability and validate mission assurance requirements. The motor assembly must survive all ground operations, plus the nominal...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Advanced Materials and Manufacturing for Low- Cost, High-Performance Liquid Rocket Combustion Chambers

A document describes the low-cost manufacturing of C103 niobium alloy combustion chambers, and the use of a high-temperature, oxidation-resistant coating that is superior to the standard silicide coating. The manufacturing process involved...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Ultra-Compact, Superconducting Spectrometer-on-a-Chip at Submillimeter Wavelengths

Small size, wide spectral bandwidth, and highly multiplexed detector readout are required to develop powerful multi-beam spectrometers for high-redshift observations. Currently available spectrometers at these frequencies are large and bulky. The grating sizes for...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Rad-Tolerant, Thermally Stable, High-Speed Fiber-Optic Network for Harsh Environments

Future NASA destinations will be challenging to get to, have extreme environmental conditions, and may present difficulty in retrieving a spacecraft or its data. Space Photonics is developing a radiationtolerant (rad-tolerant), high-speed, multichannel...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
UV Resonant Raman Spectrometer With Multi-Line Laser Excitation

A Raman spectrometer employs two or more UV (ultraviolet) laser wavelengths to generate UV resonant Raman (UVRR) spectra in organic samples. Resonant Raman scattering results when the laser excitation is near an electronic transition of a molecule, and the enhancement of Raman...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Towed Subsurface Optical Communications Buoy

The innovation allows critical, high-bandwidth submarine communications at speed and depth. This reported innovation is a subsurface optical communications buoy, with active neutral buoyancy and streamlined flow surface veins for depth control. This novel subsurface positioning for the towed...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
High-Collection-Efficiency Fluorescence Detection Cell

A new fluorescence cell has been developed for the laser induced fluorescence (LIF) detection of formaldehyde. The cell is used to sample a flow of air that contains trace concentrations of formaldehyde. The cell provides a hermetically sealed volume in which a flow of air containing...

An international collaboration led by researchers from the NIST Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology has demonstrated the ability to...

The electronic properties of graphene films are directly affected by the characteristics of the substrates on which they are grown or to which they are transferred. Researchers...

Researchers from the NIST Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology and Caltech have developed a new design platform for measuring and exploiting strong interactions...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Pattern Generator for Bench Test of Digital Boards

All efforts to develop electronic equipment reach a stage where they need a board test station for each board. The SMAP digital system consists of three board types that interact with each other using interfaces with critical timing. Each board needs to be tested individually before combining...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Feedback Augmented Sub-Ranging (FASR) Quantizer

This innovation is intended to reduce the size, power, and complexity of pipeline analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) that require high resolution and speed along with low power. Digitizers are important components in any application where analog signals (such as light, sound, temperature, etc.)...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
670-GHz Down- and Up-Converting HEMT-Based Mixers

A large category of scientific investigation takes advantage of the interactions of signals in the frequency range from 300 to 1,000 GHz and higher. This includes astronomy and atmospheric science, where spectral observations in this frequency range give information about molecular abundances,...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Real-Time Distributed Embedded Oscillator Operating Frequency Monitoring

A document discusses the utilization of embedded clocks inside of operating network data links as an auxiliary clock source to satisfy local oscillator monitoring requirements. Modem network interfaces, typically serial network links, often contain embedded clocking...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Lidar Electro-Optic Beam Switch with a Liquid Crystal Variable Retarder

A document discusses a liquid crystal variable retarder, an electro-optic element that changes the polarization of an optical beam in response to a low-voltage electronic signal. This device can be fabricated so that the element creates, among other states, a half-wave of...

Briefs: Software
Description and User Instructions for the Quaternion_to_orbit_v3 Software

For a given inertial frame of reference, the software combines the spacecraft orbits with the spacecraft attitude quaternions, and rotates the body-fixed reference frame of a particular spacecraft to the inertial reference frame. The conversion assumes that the two...

Briefs: Software
AdapChem

AdapChem software enables high efficiency, low computational cost, and enhanced accuracy on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) numerical simulations used for combustion studies. The software dynamically allocates smaller, reduced chemical models instead of the larger, full chemistry models to evolve the calculation while ensuring the...

Briefs: Software
Extended Testability Analysis Tool

The Extended Testability Analysis (ETA) Tool is a software application that supports fault management (FM) by performing testability analyses on the fault propagation model of a given system. Fault management includes the prevention of faults through robust design margins and quality assurance methods, or the...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Interactive 3D Mars Visualization

The Interactive 3D Mars Visualization system provides high-performance, immersive visualization of satellite and surface vehicle imagery of Mars. The software can be used in mission operations to provide the most accurate position information for the Mars rovers to date. When integrated into the mission data...

Briefs: Software
Software Modules for the Proximity-1 Space Link Interleaved Time Synchronization (PITS) Protocol

The Proximity-1 Space Link Interleaved Time Synchronization (PITS) protocol provides time distribution and synchronization services for space systems. A software prototype implementation of the PITS algorithm has been developed that also provides the...

Briefs: Software
Rapid Diagnostics of Onboard Sequences

Keeping track of sequences onboard a spacecraft is challenging. When reviewing Event Verification Records (EVRs) of sequence executions on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER), operators often found themselves wondering which version of a named sequence the EVR corresponded to. The lack of this information...

Briefs: Software
Mars Relay Lander and Orbiter Overflight Profile Estimation

This software allows science and mission operations to view graphs of geometric overflights of satellites and landers within the Mars (or other planetary) networks. It improves on the MaROS Web interface within any modern Web browser, in that it adds new capabilities to the MaROS...

Briefs: Software
MER Telemetry Processor

MERTELEMPROC processes telemetered data in data product format and generates Experiment Data Records (EDRs) for many instruments (HAZCAM, NAVCAM, PANCAM, microscopic imager, Mössbauer spectrometer, APXS, RAT, and EDLCAM) on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER). If the data is compressed, then MERTELEMPROC decompresses the...

Briefs: Software
pyam: Python implementation of YaM

pyam is a software development framework with tools for facilitating the rapid development of software in a concurrent software development environment. pyam provides solutions for development challenges associated with software reuse, managing multiple software configurations, developing software product...

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