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
Lunar Soil Particle Separator

The Lunar Soil Particle Separator (LSPS) beneficiates soil prior to in situ resource utilization (ISRU). It can improve ISRU oxygen yield by boosting the concentration of ilmenite, or other iron-oxide-bearing materials found in lunar soils, which can substantially reduce hydrogen reduction reactor size, as well as...

The planned Mars Science Laboratory mission requires inlet funnels for channeling unconsolidated powdered samples from the sampling and sieving...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Advanced Aerobots for Scientific Exploration

The Picosat and Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Systems Engineering (PAUSE) project is developing balloon-borne instrumentation systems as aerobots for scientific exploration of remote planets and for...

Briefs: Materials
Exfoliated Graphite Nano-Reinforcements With Surface Modifications to Improve Dispersability

Exfoliated graphite nanoflakes are a potential low-cost source of nano-reinforcement for making polymer composites with unique properties. The chemical nature of the graphitic surface leads to a low-surface energy as produced. This makes the nanoflakes...

Briefs: Materials
MicroGel® for Passivation of Pigment Degradation

MicroGel® is a unique, highly porous xero-gel silica formed using sol-gel techniques. The starting materials used are designed per guidance from molecular dynamic calculations, and are made up of mixed alkali silicates rather than normally used single alkali silicates that are gelled with...

A method was developed of synthesizing agglutinates as components of simulated Lunar regolith. The method is needed for further development of Lunar-exploration capabilities...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Fuel-Cell Power Source Based on Onboard Rocket Propellants

The use of onboard rocket propellants (dense liquids at room temperature) in place of conventional cryogenic fuel-cell reactants (hydrogen and oxygen) eliminates the mass penalties associated with cryocooling and boil-off. The high energy content and density of the rocket propellants...

In the polar regions of the Moon, some areas within craters are permanently shadowed from solar illumination and can drop to temperatures of 100 K or lower. These...

With this high-resolution imaging radar system, coherent illumination in the 576-to-589-GHz range and phase-sensitive detection are implemented in an all-solid-state design based on...

The temperature dependence of fluxoid quantization in a superconducting loop. The sensitivity of the device is expected to surpass that of other super-conducting-based bolometric devices, such...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Simultaneous Spectral Temporal Adaptive Raman Spectrometer — SSTARS

Raman spectroscopy is a prime candidate for the next generation of planetary instruments, as it addresses the primary goal of mineralogical analysis, which is structure and composition. However, large fluorescence return from many mineral samples under visible light excitation...

Briefs: Information Technology
Algorithms for Learning Preferences for Sets of Objects

A method is being developed that provides for an artificial-intelligence system to learn a user’s preferences for sets of objects and to thereafter automatically select subsets of objects according to those preferences. The method was originally intended to enable automated selection,...

Two image-data-processing algorithms are essential to the successful operation of a system of electronic hardware and software that noninvasively tracks the direction of a person’s...

Briefs: Information Technology
Model for Simulating a Spiral Software-Development Process

A discrete-event simulation model, and a computer program that implements the model, have been developed as means of analyzing a spiral software-development process. This model can be tailored to specific development environments for use by software project managers in making...

Briefs: Information Technology
Adapting ASPEN for Orbital Express

By studying the Orbital Express mission, modeling the spacecraft and scenarios, and testing the system, a technique has been developed that uses recursive decomposition to represent procedural actions declaratively, schemalevel uncertainty reasoning to make uncertainty reasoning tractable, and lightweight,...

Briefs: Information Technology
Algorithm That Synthesizes Other Algorithms for Hashing

An algorithm that includes a collection of several subalgorithms has been devised as a means of synthesizing still other algorithms (which could include computer code) that utilize hashing to determine whether an element (typically, a number or other datum) is a member of a set (typically,...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Holographic Vortex Coronagraph

A holographic vortex coronagraph (HVC) has been proposed as an improvement over conventional coronagraphs for use in high-contrast astronomical imaging for detecting planets, dust disks, and other broadband...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Photon Counting Using Edge-Detection Algorithm

New applications such as high-data-rate, photon-starved, free-space optical communications require photon counting at flux rates into gigaphoton-per-second regimes coupled with sub-nanosecond timing accuracy. Current single-photon detectors that are capable of handling such operating conditions are...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Optical Structural Health Monitoring Device

This non-destructive, optical fatigue detection and monitoring system relies on a small and unobtrusive light-scattering sensor that is installed on a component at the beginning of its life in order to periodically scan the component in situ. The method involves using a laser beam to scan the surface...

An activated metal treatment system (AMTS) removes and destroys polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in painted structures or within the binding or...

A method gathers scene information from a low-cost camera system. Existing surveillance systems using sufficient cameras for continuous coverage of a large field necessarily generate...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Data Acquisition System for Multi-Frequency Radar Flight Operations Preparation

A three-channel data acquisition system was developed for the NASA Multi-Frequency Radar (MFR) system. The system is based on a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) industrial PC (personal computer) and two dual-channel 14-bit digital receiver cards. The decimated complex...

Briefs: Software
Integrating Radar Image Data With Google Maps

A public Web site has been developed as a method for displaying the multitude of radar imagery collected by NASA’s Airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (AIR-SAR) instrument during its 16-year mission. Utilizing NASA’s internal AIRSAR site, the new Web site features more sophisticated visualization...

Briefs: Software
Mercury Toolset for Spatiotemporal Metadata

Mercury http://mercury.ornl.gov is a set of tools for federated harvesting, searching, and retrieving metadata, particularly spatiotemporal metadata. Version 3.0 of the Mercury toolset provides orders of magnitude improvements in search speed, support for additional metadata formats, integration with...

Briefs: Software
Social Tagging of Mission Data

Mars missions will generate a large amount of data in various forms, such as daily plans, images, and scientific information. Often, there is a semantic linkage between images that cannot be captured automatically. Software is needed that will provide a method for creating arbitrary tags for this mission data so...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Interface Supports Lightweight Subsystem Routing for Flight Applications

A wireless avionics interface exploits the constrained nature of data networks in flight systems to use a lightweight routing method. This simplified routing means that a processor is not required, and the logic can be implemented as an intellectual property (IP) core in a...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Demonstration of a Submillimeter-Wave HEMT Oscillator Module at 330 GHz

In this work, radial transitions have been successfully mated with a HEMT-based MMIC (high-electron-mobility-transistor-based monolithic microwave integrated circuit) oscillator circuit. The chip has been assembled into a WR2.2 waveguide module for the basic implementation...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Flexible Peripheral Component Interconnect Input/Output Card

The Flexible Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) Input/Output (I/O) Card is an innovative circuit board that provides functionality to interface between a variety of devices. It supports user-defined interrupts for interface synchronization, tracks system faults and failures, and...

Several different experimental monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) amplifiers have been designed to operate in frequency bands ranging from 350 to 500 GHz and were undergoing...

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