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 : Electronics & Computers
Connect Global Positioning System RF Module

The CoNNeCT Global Positioning System RF Module (GPSM) slice is part of the JPL CoNNeCT Software Defined Radio (SDR). CoNNeCT is the Communications, Navigation, and Networking reconfigurable Testbed project that is part of NASA’s Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN) Program. The CoNNeCT project...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Miniature EVA Software Defined Radio

As NASA embarks upon developing the Next-Generation Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) Radio for deep space exploration, the demands on EVA battery life will substantially increase. The number of modes and frequency bands required will continue to grow in order to enable efficient and complex multimode operations...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Simple Cell Balance Circuit

A method has been developed for continuous cell voltage balancing for rechargeable batteries (e.g. lithium ion batteries). A resistor divider chain is provided that generates a set of voltages representing the ideal cell voltage (the voltage of each cell should be as if the cells were perfectly balanced). An...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Remotely Accessible Testbed for Software Defined Radio Development

Previous development testbeds have assumed that the developer was physically present in front of the hardware being used. No provision for remote operation of basic functions (power on/off or reset) was made, because the developer/operator was sitting in front of the hardware,...

Briefs : Software
3D Visualization for Phoenix Mars Lander Science Operations

Planetary surface exploration missions present considerable operational challenges in the form of substantial communication delays, limited communication windows, and limited communication bandwidth. A 3D visualization software was developed and delivered to the 2008 Phoenix Mars Lander...

Briefs : Software
System-of-Systems Technology-Portfolio- Analysis Tool

Advanced Technology Life-cycle Analysis System (ATLAS) is a system-of-systems technology-portfolio-analysis software tool. ATLAS affords capabilities to (1) compare estimates of the mass and cost of an engineering system based on competing technological concepts; (2) estimate life-cycle costs...

Briefs : Software
VESGEN Software for Mapping and Quantification of Vascular Regulators

VESsel GENeration (VESGEN) Analysis is an automated software that maps and quantifies effects of vascular regulators on vascular morphology by analyzing important vessel parameters. Quantification parameters include vessel diameter, length, branch points, density, and fractal...

Briefs : Software
Constructing a Database From Multiple 2D Images for Camera Pose Estimation and Robot Localization

The LMDB (Landmark Database) Builder software identifies persistent image features (“landmarks”) in a scene viewed multiple times and precisely estimates the landmarks’ 3D world positions. The software receives as input multiple 2D images of...

Briefs : Software
Adaption of G-TAG Software for Validating Touch and Go Asteroid Sample Return Design Methodology

A software tool is used to demonstrate the feasibility of Touch and Go (TAG) sampling for Asteroid Sample Return missions. TAG is a concept whereby a spacecraft is in contact with the surface of a small body, such as a comet or asteroid, for a few...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Carbon Nanotube Bonding Strength Enhancement Using Metal “Wicking” Process

Carbon nanotubes grown from a surface typically have poor bonding strength at the interface. A process has been developed for adding a metal coat to the surface of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) through a “wicking” process, which could lead to an enhanced bonding...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Germanium Lift-Off Masks for Thin Metal Film Patterning

A technique has been developed for patterning thin metallic films that are, in turn, used to fabricate microelectronics circuitry and thin-film sensors. The technique uses germanium thin films as lift-off masks. This requires development of a technique to strip or undercut the germanium...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Multi-Layer Far- Infrared Component Technology

A method has been developed for fabricating high-reflectivity, multi-layer optical films for the terahertz wavelength region. A silicon mirror with 99.997-percent reflectivity at 70 μm wavelength requires an air gap of 17.50 μm, and a silicon thickness of 5.12 μm. This approach obtains...

Briefs : Materials
Sealing Materials for Use in Vacuum at High Temperatures

Sealing materials that can be applied and left in place in vacuum over a wide range of temperatures (especially temperatures of a few thousand degrees Celsius) have been conceived and investigated for potential utility in repairing thermal-protection tiles on the space shuttles in orbit...

Briefs : Materials
Radiation Shielding System Using a Composite of Carbon Nanotubes Loaded With Electropolymers

Single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) coated with a hydrogen-rich, electrically conducting polymer such as polyethylene, receive and dissipate a portion of incoming radiation pulse energy to electrical signals that are transmitted along the CNT axes, and...

Briefs : Materials
Nano Sponges for Drug Delivery and Medicinal Applications

This invention is a means of delivering a drug, or payload, to cells using non-covalent associations of the payload with nanoengineered scaffolds; specifically, functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) and their derivatives where the payload is effectively sequestered by the...

Briefs : Materials
Molecular Technique to Understand Deep Microbial Diversity

Current sequencing-based and DNA microarray techniques to study microbial diversity are based on an initial PCR (polymerase chain reaction) amplification step. However, a number of factors are known to bias PCR amplification and jeopardize the true representation of bacterial diversity....

Briefs : Materials
Methods and Compositions Based on Culturing Microorganisms in Low Sedimental Fluid Shear Conditions

The benefits of applying a low sedimental fluid shear environment to manipulate microorganisms were examined. Microorganisms obtained from a low sedimental fluid shear culture, which exhibit modified phenotypic and molecular genetic...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Maturation of Structural Health Management Systems for Solid Rocket Motors

An autonomous and automated spacecompliant diagnostic system concept was developed for condition-based maintenance (CBM) of rocket motors for space exploration vehicles. The system will provide real-time information on the integrity of critical structures on launch...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Imaging System Aperture Masks for Image Plane Exit Pupil Characterization

Imaging system exit pupil characteristics are typically difficult and expensive to measure directly. In most cases, the exit pupil in an optical system is a virtual image of the system’s aperture stop and requires additional powered optical elements, such as lenses and...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Nanostructure Sensing and Transmission of Gas Data

This system provides one or more sensors for selected chemicals (all using nanostructure sensors with small physical sizes), one or more sensors for physical parameters (e.g. voltage or current), a multiplexer to receive and interleave the measured data stream values from the sensors according...

Briefs : Information Technology
Secure Peer-to-Peer Networks for Scientific Information Sharing

The most common means of remote scientific collaboration today includes the trio of e-mail for electronic communication, FTP for file sharing, and personalized Web sites for dissemination of papers and research results. With the growth of broadband Internet, there has been a desire...

Briefs : Information Technology
High-Rate Data-Capture for an Airborne Lidar System

A high-rate data system was required to capture the data for an airborne lidar system. A data system was developed that achieved up to 22 million (64-bit) events per second sustained data rate (1408 million bits per second), as well as short bursts (

Briefs : Information Technology
Multiplexer/Demultiplexer Loading Tool (MDMLT)

The purpose of the MDMLT is to improve the reliability and speed of loading multiplexers/ demultiplexers (MDMs) in the Software Development and Integration Laboratory (SDIL) by automating the configuration management (CM) of the loads in the MDMs, automating the loading procedure, and providing the...

Briefs : Information Technology
Foam-on-Tile Damage Model

An impact model was developed to predict how three specific foam types would damage the Space Shuttle Orbiter insulating tiles. The inputs needed for the model are the foam type, the foam mass, the foam impact velocity, the foam impact incident angle, the type being impacted, and whether the tile is new or aged (has...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Instrument Package Manipulation Through the Generation and Use of an Attenuated-Fluent Gas Fold

This document discusses a technique that provides a means for suspending large, awkward loads, instrument packages, components, and machinery in a stable, controlled, and precise manner. In the baseplate of the test machine, a pattern of grooves and...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Multicolor Detectors for Ultrasensitive Long-Wave Imaging Cameras

A document describes a zeptobolometer for ultrasensitive, long-wavelength sensors. GSFC is developing pixels based on the zeptobolometer design that sense three THz wavelengths simultaneously.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Electro-Optic Segment- Segment Sensors for Radio and Optical Telescopes

A document discusses an electro-optic sensor that consists of a collimator, attached to one segment, and a quad diode, attached to an adjacent segment. Relative segment-segment motion causes the beam from the collimator to move across the quad diode, thus generating a...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Optical Communications Receiver

Specialized mixed-signal (radio frequency and digital) hardware and processing techniques are employed to enable processing of the multi-GHz signal bandwidth, along with the instruction of an inter-symbol guard time (ISGT) to facilitate synchronization to the received pulse-position modulation (PPM) signal.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Low-Noise, Large-Area Quad Photoreceivers Based on Low-Capacitance Quad Photodiodes

The Laser Interferometry Space Antenna’s (LISAs) scientific mission to detect gravity waves demands stringent noise limits on the system components, especially the large-area quad photoreceiver front end, for ultra-high-precision (≈10 pm/Hz1/2)...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Wavefront Sensing Analysis of Grazing Incidence Optical Systems

Wavefront sensing is a process by which optical system errors are deduced from the aberrations in the image of an ideal source. The method has been used successfully in near-normal incidence, but not for grazing incidence systems. This innovation highlights the ability to examine...