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 : Software
MISR Instrument Data Visualization

The MISR Interactive eXplorer (MINX) software functions both as a general-purpose tool to visualize Multiangle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument data, and as a specialized tool to analyze properties of smoke, dust, and volcanic plumes. It includes high-level options to create map views of MISR orbit...

Briefs : Software
Platform for Postprocessing Waveform-Based NDE

Taking advantage of the similarities that exist among all waveform-based non-destructive evaluation (NDE) methods, a common software platform has been developed containing multiple-signal and image-processing techniques for waveforms and images. The NASA NDE Signal and Image Processing software has...

Briefs : Software
System for Continuous Delivery of MODIS Imagery to Internet Mapping Applications

This software represents a complete, unsupervised processing chain that generates a continuously updating global image of the Earth from the most recent available MODIS Level 1B scenes.

Briefs : Software
Automatic Rock Detection and Mapping from HiRISE Imagery

This system includes a C-code software program and a set of MATLAB software tools for statistical analysis and rock distribution mapping. The major functions include rock detection and rock detection validation. The rock detection code has been evolved into a production tool that can be...

Briefs : Software
Parallel Computing for the Computed-Tomography Imaging Spectrometer

This software computes the tomographic reconstruction of spatial-spectral data from raw detector images of the Com - puted-Tomography Imaging Spec trom - eter (CTIS), which enables transient-level, multi-spectral imaging by capturing spatial and spectral information in a single...

Briefs : Software
Processing LiDAR Data To Predict Natural Hazards

ELF-Base and ELF-Hazards (wherein "ELF" signifies "Extract LiDAR Features" and "LiDAR" signifies "light detection and ranging") are developmental software modules for processing remotesensing LiDAR data to identify past natural hazards (principally, landslides) and predict future ones. ELF-Base...

Briefs : Software
Rock Segmentation Through Edge Regrouping

Rockster is an algorithm that automatically identifies the locations and boundaries of rocks imaged by the rover hazard cameras (hazcams), navigation cameras (navcams), or panoramic cameras (pancams). The software uses edge detection and edge regrouping to identify closed contours that separate the rocks...

Briefs : Software
DSN Array Simulator

The DSN Array Simulator (wherein "DSN" signifies NASA's Deep Space Network) is an updated version of software previously denoted the DSN Receive Array Technology Assessment Simulation. This software (see figure) is used for computational modeling of a proposed DSN facility comprising userdefined arrays of antennas and...

Briefs : Software
Estimating Software-Development Costs With Greater Accuracy

COCOMOST is a computer program for use in estimating software development costs. The goal in the development of COCOMOST was to increase estimation accuracy in three ways: (1) develop a set of sensitivity software tools that return not only estimates of costs but also the estimation...

Briefs : Software
Visual Target Tracking on the Mars Exploration Rovers

Functional Flow of VTT integrated into MER flight software. VTT module functions (square boxes) are additions to the existing MER flight software (circles).Visual target tracking (VTT) software has been incorporated into Release 9.2 of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) flight software, now...

Briefs : Software
Parametric-Studies and Data-Plotting Modules for the SOAP

“Parametric Studies” and “Data Table Plot View” are the names of software modules in the Satellite Orbit Analysis Program (SOAP). Parametric Studies enables parameterization of as many as three satellite or ground-station attributes across a range of values and computes the...

Briefs : Software
Testing of Error-Correcting Sparse Permutation Channel Codes

A computer program performs Monte Carlo direct numerical simulations for testing sparse permutation channel codes, which offer strong error-correction capabilities at high code rates and are considered especially suitable for storage of digital data in holographic and volume memories....

Briefs : Software
SPICE Module for the Satellite Orbit Analysis Program (SOAP)

A SPICE module for the Satellite Orbit Analysis Program (SOAP) precisely represents complex motion and maneuvers in an interactive, 3D animated environment with support for user-defined quantitative outputs. (“SPICE” stands for Spacecraft, Planet, Instrument, Camera-matrix, and...

Briefs : Software
Enhanced Reporting of Mars Exploration Rover Telemetry

Figure 1. This top view of a METERS Auto-Generated Main Web Pageincludes a motion summary in plain textMars Exploration Rover Enhanced Telemetry Extraction and Reporting System (METERS) is software that generates a human-readable representation of the state of the mobility and arm-related...

Briefs : Software
Facilitating Analysis of Multiple Partial Data Streams

Robotic Operations Automation: Mechanisms, Imaging, Navigation report Generation (ROAMING) is a set of computer programs that facilitates and accelerates both tactical and strategic analysis of time-sampled data — especially the disparate and often incomplete streams of Mars Explorer...

Briefs : Software
Service-Oriented Architecture for NVO and TeraGrid Computing

The National Virtual Observatory (NVO) Extensible Secure Scalable Service Infrastructure (NESSSI) is a Web service architecture and software framework (see figure) that enables Web-based astronomical data publish - ing and processing on grid computers such as the National Science Foun...

Briefs : Software
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Wrapper Script

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on the launch padThe MRO OLVM wrapper script software allows Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) sequence and spacecraft engineers to rapidly simulate a spacecraft command product through a tool that simulates the onboard sequence management software (OLVM). This script parses...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Nematic Cells for Digital Light Deflection

Smectic A (SmA) materials can be used in non-mechanical, digital beam deflectors (DBDs) as fillers for passive birefringent prisms based on decoupled pairs of electrically controlled, liquid crystalline polarization rotators, like twisted nematic (TN) cells and passive deflectors. DBDs are used in...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Improving the Optical Quality Factor of the WGM Resonator

Resonators usually are characterized with two partially dependent values: finesse (F) and quality factor (Q). The finesse of an empty Fabry-Perot (FP) resonator is defined solely by the quality of its mirrors and is calculated as

F = πR1/2/(1 – R).

The maximum...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Ultra-Stable Beacon Source for Laboratory Testing of Optical Tracking

The ultra-stable beacon source (USBS) provides a laser-beam output with a very low angular jitter and can be used as an absolute angular reference to simulate a beacon in the laboratory. The laser is mounted on the top of a very short (≈1 m) inverted pendulum (IP) with its...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Delaying Trains of Short Light Pulses in WGM Resonators

Suitably configured whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) optical resonators have been proposed as delay lines for trains of short light pulses. Until now, it has been common practice to implement an optical delay line as a coiled long optical fiber, which is bulky and tends to be noisy. An...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Hand-Held Ultrasonic Instrument for Reading Matrix Symbols

A hand-held instrument that would include an ultrasonic camera has been proposed as an efficient means of reading matrix symbols. The proposed instrument could be operated without mechanical raster scanning. All electronic functions from excitation of ultrasonic pulses through final...

Briefs : Information Technology
Visual Data Analysis for Satellites

The Visual Data Analysis Package is a collection of programs and scripts that facilitate visual analysis of data available from NASA and NOAA satellites, as well as dropsonde, buoy, and conventional in-situ observations. The package features utilities for data extraction, data quality control, statistical...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Two-Camera Acquisition and Tracking of a Flying Target

A method and apparatus have been developed to solve the problem of automated acquisition and tracking, from a location on the ground, of a luminous moving target in the sky. The method involves the use of two electronic cameras: (1) a stationary camera having a wide field of view, positioned...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Customizable Digital Receivers for Radar

Compact, highly customizable digital receivers are being developed for the system described in "Radar Interferometer for Topographic Mapping of Glaciers and Ice Sheets" (NPO-43962), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 31, No. 7 (August 2007), page 72. In the original intended application, there is a requirement for 16...

Briefs : Information Technology
A Data Type for Efficient Representation of Other Data Types

A self-organizing, monomorphic data type denoted a sequence has been conceived to address certain concerns (summarized below) that arise in programming parallel computers. ["Sequence" as used here should not be confused with "sequence" as the word is commonly understood or with...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Lower-Dark-Current, Higher-Blue-Response CMOS Imagers

Several improved designs for complementary metal oxide/semiconductor (CMOS) integrated- circuit image detectors have been developed, primarily to reduce dark currents (leakage currents) and secondarily to increase responses to blue light and increase signal- handling capacities, relative to...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Broadband Microstrip-to-Coplanar Strip Double-Y Balun

A new version of the double-Y balun, transitioning from an unbalanced microstrip to a balanced coplanar strip (CPS) line, has been designed to feed a complementary spiral antenna with an input impedance of 100 Ω. Various versions of the double-Y balun have been investigated in previous...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
A Topographical Lidar System for Terrain-Relative Navigation

An imaging lidar system is being developed for use in navigation, relative to the local terrain. This technology will potentially be used for future spacecraft landing on the Moon. Systems like this one could also be used on Earth for diverse purposes, including mapping terrain,...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Electronic Switch Arrays for Managing Microbattery Arrays

Integrated circuits have been invented for managing the charging and discharging of such advanced miniature energy-storage devices as planar arrays of microscopic energy- storage elements [typically, microscopic electrochemical cells (microbatteries) or microcapacitors]. The architecture...

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