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: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabrication of Single Crystal MgO Capsules

A method has been developed for machining MgO crystal blocks into forms for containing metallic and silicate liquids at temperatures up to 2,400 ºC, and pressures up to at least 320 kilobars. Possible custom shapes include tubes, rods, insulators, capsules, and guides. Key differences in this...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Mars Aqueous Processing System

The goal of the Mars Aqueous Processing System (MAPS) is to establish a flexible process that generates multiple products that are useful for human habitation. Selectively extracting useful components into an aqueous solution, and then sequentially recovering individual constituents, can obtain a suite of refined...

The NASA Human Space Flight program is interested in projects where humans, beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO), can make an important and unique contribution that cannot be reasonably...

Bonding to aluminum can be a difficult task. Many engineers will search for a single and simple remedy in the form of a low-temperature adhesive for making structural joints without welding. A...

Briefs: Materials
Hybrid Filter Membrane

Cabin environmental control is an important issue for a successful Moon mission. Due to the unique environment of the Moon, lunar dust control is one of the main problems that significantly diminishes the air quality inside spacecraft cabins. Therefore, this innovation was motivated by NASA’s need to minimize the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Design for the Structure and the Mechanics of Moballs

The moball is envisioned to be a round, self-powered, and wind-driven multifunctioning sensor used in the Gone with the Wind ON-Mars (GOWON) [http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cascading Tesla Oscillating Flow Diode for Stirling Engine Gas Bearings

Replacing the mechanical check-valve in a Stirling engine with a micromachined, non-moving-part flow diode eliminates moving parts and reduces the risk of microparticle clogging.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pressure Dome for High-Pressure Electrolyzer

A high-strength, low-weight pressure vessel dome was designed specifically to house a high-pressure [2,000 psi (≈13.8 MPa)] electrolyzer. In operation, the dome is filled with an inert gas...

Briefs: Medical
Wideband Single-Crystal Transducer for Bone Characterization

The microgravity conditions of space travel result in unique physiological demands on the human body. In particular, the absence of the continual mechanical stresses on the skeletal system that are present on Earth cause the bones to decalcify. Trabecular structure decreases in...

Briefs: Medical
Extreme Ionizing-Radiation-Resistant Bacterium

There is a growing concern that desiccation and extreme radiation-resistant, non-spore-forming microorganisms associated with spacecraft surfaces can withstand space environmental conditions and subsequent proliferation on another solar body. Such forward contamination would jeopardize future life...

Briefs: Medical
Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorting of Live Versus Dead Bacterial Cells and Spores

This innovation is a coupled fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and fluorescent staining technology for purifying (removing cells from sampling matrices), separating (based on size, density, morphology, and live versus dead), and concentrating cells...

Briefs: Medical
Nonhazardous Urine Pretreatment Method

A method combines solid phase acidification with two non-toxic biocides to prevent ammonia volatilization and microbial proliferation. The safe, nonoxidizing biocide combination consists of a quaternary amine and a food preservative. This combination has exhibited excellent stabilization of both acidified...

In this innovation, the three-way combiner consists internally of two branchline hybrids that are connected in series by a short length of waveguide. Each branch-line hybrid is...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Low-Gain Circularly Polarized Antenna With Torus-Shaped Pattern

The Juno mission to Jupiter requires an antenna with a torus-shaped antenna pattern with approximately 6 dBic gain and circular polarization over the Deep Space Network (DSN) 7-GHz transmit frequency and the 8-GHz receive frequency. Given the large distances that accumulate en-route...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Laser-Ranging Transponders for Science Investigations of the Moon and Mars

An active laser was developed ranging in real-time with two terminals, emulating interplanetary distances, and with submillimeter accuracy. In order to overcome the limitations to ranging accuracy from jitters and delay drifts within the transponders, architecture was...

Structural health monitoring (SHM) is one of the most important tools available for the maintenance, safety, and integrity of aerospace structural systems. Lightweight,...

Briefs: Software
Stereo and IMU-Assisted Visual Odometry for Small Robots

This software performs two functions: (1) taking stereo image pairs as input, it computes stereo disparity maps from them by cross-correlation to achieve 3D (three-dimensional) perception; (2) taking a sequence of stereo image pairs as input, it tracks features in the image sequence to...

Briefs: Software
Global Swath and Gridded Data Tiling

This software generates cylindrically projected tiles of swath-based or gridded satellite data for the purpose of dynamically generating high-resolution global images covering various time periods, scaling ranges, and colors called “tiles.” It reconstructs a global image given a set of tiles covering a...

Briefs: Software
GOES-R: Satellite Insight

GOES-R: Satellite Insight seeks to bring awareness of the GOES-R (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite — R Series) satellite currently in development to an audience of all ages on the emerging medium of mobile games. The iPhone app (Satellite Insight) was created for the GOES-R Program. The app describes...

Briefs: Software
Aquarius iPhone Application

The Office of the CIO at JPL has developed an iPhone application for the Aquarius/SAC-D mission. The application includes specific information about the science and purpose of the Aquarius satellite and also features daily mission news updates pulled from sources at Goddard Space Flight Center as well as Twitter. The...

Briefs: Information Technology
Monitoring of International Space Station Telemetry Using Shewhart Control Charts

Shewhart control charts have been established as an expedient method for analyzing dynamic, trending data in order to identify anomalous subsystem performance as soon as such performance would exceed a statistically established baseline. Additionally, this leading...

Briefs: Information Technology
Time Manager Software for a Flight Processor

Data analysis is a process of inspecting, cleaning, transforming, and modeling data to highlight useful information and suggest conclusions. Accurate timestamps and a timeline of vehicle events are needed to analyze flight data. When data is gathered onboard a rocket, precise time stamping is even...

Briefs: Information Technology
Simulation of Oxygen Disintegration and Mixing With Hydrogen or Helium at Supercritical Pressure

The simulation of high-pressure turbulent flows, where the pressure, p, is larger than the critical value, pc, for the species under consideration, is relevant to a wide array of propulsion systems, e.g. gas turbine, diesel, and liquid...

Briefs: Information Technology
Theory of a Traveling Wave Feed for a Planar Slot Array Antenna

Planar arrays of waveguide-fed slots have been employed in many radar and remote sensing applications. Such arrays are designed in the standing wave configuration because of high efficiency. Traveling wave arrays can produce greater bandwidth at the expense of efficiency due to...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A Superfluid Pulse Tube Refrigerator Without Moving Parts for Sub-Kelvin Cooling

A report describes a pulse tube refrigerator that uses a mixture of 3He and superfluid 4He to cool to temperatures below 300 mK, while rejecting heat at temperatures up to 1.7 K. The refrigerator is driven by a novel thermodynamically...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Sapphire Viewports for a Venus Probe

A document discusses the creation of a viewport suitable for use on the surface of Venus. These viewports are rated for 500 °C and 100 atm pressure with appropriate safety factors and reliability required for incorporation into a Venus Lander. Sapphire windows should easily withstand the chemical, pressure,...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
The Mobile Chamber

A document discusses a simulation chamber that represents a shift from the thermal-vacuum chamber stereotype. This innovation, currently in development, combines the capabilities of space simulation chambers, the user-friendliness of modern-day electronics, and the modularity of plug-and-play computing. The Mobile Chamber is a...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Electric Propulsion Induced Secondary Mass Spectroscopy

A document highlights a means to complement remote spectroscopy while also providing in situ surface samples without a landed system. Historically, most compositional analysis of small body surfaces has been done remotely by analyzing reflection or nuclear spectra. However, neither provides...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Radiation-Tolerant DC-DC Converters

A document discusses power converters suitable for space use that meet the DSCC MIL-PRF-38534 Appendix G radiation hardness level P classification. A method for qualifying commercially produced electronic parts for DC-DC converters per the Defense Supply Center Columbus (DSCC) radiation hardened assurance...

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