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: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Concept for Hydrogen-Impregnated Nanofiber/Photovoltaic Cargo Stowage System

A stowage system was conceived that consists of collapsible, reconfigurable stowage bags, rigid polyethylene or metal inserts, stainless-steel hooks, flexible photovoltaic materials, and webbing curtains that provide power generation, thermal stabilization, impact...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
DROP: Durable Reconnaissance and Observation Platform

Robots have been a valuable tool for providing a remote presence in areas that are either inaccessible or too dangerous for humans. Having a robot with a high degree of adaptability...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Gravity-Assist Mechanical Simulator for Outreach

There is no convenient way to demonstrate mechanically, as an outreach (or inreach) topic, the angular momentum trade-offs and the conservation of angular momentum associated with...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Spectroscopic Chemical Analysis Methods and Apparatus

This invention relates to non-contact spectroscopic methods and apparatus for performing chemical analysis and the ideal wavelengths and sources needed for this analysis. It employs deep ultraviolet (200- to 300-nm spectral range) electron- beam-pumped wide bandgap semiconductor lasers,...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Motion-Corrected 3D Sonic Anemometer for Tethersondes and Other Moving Platforms

To date, it has not been possible to apply 3D sonic anemometers on tethersondes or similar atmospheric research platforms due to the motion of the supporting platform. A tethersonde module including both a 3D sonic anemometer and associated motion correction sensors...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Water Treatment Systems for Long Spaceflights

Space exploration will require new life support systems to support the crew on journeys lasting from a few days to several weeks, or longer. These systems should also be designed to reduce the mass required to keep humans alive in space. Water accounts for about 80 percent of the daily mass intake...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Seismic Imager Space Telescope

A concept has been developed for a geostationary seismic imager (GSI), a space telescope in geostationary orbit above the Pacific coast of the Americas that would provide movies of many large earthquakes occurring in the area from Southern Chile to Southern Alaska. The GSI movies would cover a field of view as long...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Low-Cost Phased Array Antenna for Sounding Rockets, Missiles, and Expendable Launch Vehicles

A low-cost beamformer phased array antenna has been developed for expendable launch vehicles, rockets, and missiles. It utilizes a conformal array antenna of ring or individual radiators (design varies depending on application) that is designed to be fed...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Microchip Non-Aqueous Capillary Electrophoresis (μNACE) Method to Analyze Long-Chain Primary Amines

A protocol was developed as a first step in analyzing the complex organic aerosols present on Saturn’s moon Titan, as well as the analogues of these aerosols (tholins) made on Earth. Labeling of primary amines using Pacific Blue™ succinimidyl...

In radiometer applications, it is required to design antennas that meet low average sidelobe levels and low average return loss over a specified frequency bandwidth. It is...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Mars Science Laboratory Engineering Cameras

NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover, which launched to Mars in 2011, is equipped with a set of 12 engineering cameras. These cameras are build-to-print copies of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) cameras, which were sent to Mars in 2003. The engineering cameras weigh

Briefs: Information Technology
Estimating Sea Surface Salinity and Wind Using Combined Passive and Active L-Band Microwave Observations

Several L-band microwave radiometer and radar missions have been, or will be, operating in space for land and ocean observations. These include the NASA Aquarius mission and the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission, both of which use...

Briefs: Information Technology
A Posteriori Study of a DNS Database Describing Super - critical Binary-Species Mixing

Currently, the modeling of supercritical-pressure flows through Large Eddy Simulation (LES) uses models derived for atmospheric-pressure flows. Those atmospheric-pressure flows do not exhibit the particularities of high density-gradient magnitude features...

Briefs: Information Technology
Scalable SCPPM Decoder

A decoder was developed that decodes a serial concatenated pulse position modulation (SCPPM) encoded information sequence. The decoder takes as input a sequence of four bit loglikelihood ratios (LLR) for each PPM slot in a codeword via a XAUI 10-Gb/s quad optical fiber interface. If the decoder is unavailable, it passes...

Briefs: Software
QuakeSim 2.0

QuakeSim 2.0 improves understanding of earthquake processes by providing modeling tools and integrating model applications and various heterogeneous data sources within a Web services environment. QuakeSim is a multi-source, synergistic, data-intensive environment for modeling the behavior of earthquake faults individually, and as...

Briefs: Software
HURON (HUman and Robotic Optimization Network) Multi-Agent Temporal Activity Planner/ Scheduler

HURON solves the problem of how to optimize a plan and schedule for assigning multiple agents to a temporal sequence of actions (e.g., science tasks). Developed as a generic planning and scheduling tool, HURON has been used to optimize space mission...

Briefs: Software
MPST Software: MoonKommand

This software automatically processes Sally Ride Science (SRS) delivered MoonKAM camera control files (ccf) into uplink products for the GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B spacecraft as part of an education and public outreach (EPO) extension to the Grail Mission. Once properly validated and deemed safe for execution onboard the...

What kind of food will astronauts eat and what is the best way to grow it during deep space exploration missions? A group of plant biologists is seeking the answers as...

A new versatile measurement system devised by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) accurately and quickly measures the electric power...

Today's light-emitting diode light bulbs have a slight environmental edge over compact fluorescent lamps, and that gap is expected to grow significantly as technology and...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Low-Power Architecture for an Optical Life Gas Analyzer

Analog and digital electronic control architecture has been combined with an operating methodology for an optical trace gas sensor platform that allows very low power consumption while providing four independent gas measurements in essentially real time, as well as a user interface and...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Detection of Chemical Precursors of Explosives

Certain selected chemicals associated with terrorist activities are too unstable to be prepared in final form. These chemicals are often prepared as precursor components, to be combined at a time immediately preceding the detonation. One example is a liquid explosive, which usually requires an...

Briefs: Information Technology
Rugged, Portable, Real-Time Optical Gaseous Analyzer for Hydrogen Fluoride

Hydrogen fluoride (HF) is a primary evolved combustion product of fluorinated and perfluorinated hydrocarbons. HF is produced during combustion by the presence of impurities and hydrogen-containing polymers including polyimides. This effect is especially dangerous in...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
A Probabilistic Mass Estimation Algorithm for a Novel 7-Channel Capacitive Sample Verification Sensor

A document describes an algorithm created to estimate the mass placed on a sample verification sensor (SVS) designed for lunar or planetary robotic sample return missions. A novel SVS measures the capacitance between a rigid bottom plate and an...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Detecting Methane From Leaking Pipelines and as Greenhouse Gas in the Atmosphere

Laser remote sensing measurements of trace gases from orbit can provide unprecedented information about important planetary science and answer critical questions about planetary atmospheres. Methane (CH4) is the second most important anthropogenically...

The avionics system software for human-rated launch vehicles requires an implementation approach that is robust to failures, especially the failure of sensors used to monitor...

A three-frequency millimeter-wave feed horn was developed as part of an advanced component technology task that provides components necessary for higher-frequency radiometers to meet the...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Online Cable Tester and Rerouter

Hardware and algorithms have been developed to transfer electrical power and data connectivity safely, efficiently, and automatically from an identified damaged/defective wire in a cable to an alternate wire path. The combination of online cable testing capabilities, along with intelligent signal rerouting...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Inverted Three-Junction Tandem Thermophotovoltaic Modules

An InGaAs-based three-junction (3J) tandem thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cell has been investigated to utilize more of the blackbody spectrum (from a 1,100 °C general purpose heat source — GPHS) efficiently. The tandem consists of three vertically stacked subcells, a 0.74-eV InGaAs cell, a...

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