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: Medical
Remote Sensing of Parasitic Nematodes in Plants

A method and apparatus for remote sensing of parasitic nematodes in plants, now undergoing development, is based on measurement of visible and infrared spectral reflectances of fields where the plants are growing. Initial development efforts have been concentrated on detecting reniform nematodes...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Direct Coupling From WGM Resonator Disks to Photodetectors

Output coupling of light from a whispering- gallery-mode (WGM) optical resonator directly to a photodetector has recently been demonstrated. By "directly" is meant that the coupling is effected without use of intervening optical components. Heretofore, coupling of light into and out of...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Multiple-Parameter, Low-False-Alarm Fire-Detection Systems

Fire-detection systems incorporating multiple sensors that measure multiple parameters are being developed for use in storage depots, cargo bays of ships and aircraft, and other locations not amenable to frequent, direct visual inspection. These systems are intended to improve upon...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Using Digital Radiography To Image Liquid Nitrogen in Voids

Digital radiography by use of (1) a field- portable x-ray tube that emits low- energy x rays and (2) an electronic imaging x-ray detector has been found to be an effective technique for detecting liquid nitrogen inside voids in thermal- insulation panels. The technique was conceived as...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Plasmoid Thruster for High Specific-Impulse Propulsion

A report discusses a new multi-turn, multi-lead design for the first generation PT-1 (Plasmoid Thruster) that produces thrust by expelling plasmas with embedded magnetic fields (plasmoids) at high velocities. This thruster is completely electrodeless, capable of using in-situ resources, and...

Briefs: Information Technology
Analysis Method for Quantifying Vehicle Design Goals

A document discusses a method for using Design Structure Matrices (DSM), coupled with high-level tools representing important life-cycle parameters, to comprehensively conceptualize a flight/ground space transportation system design by dealing with such variables as performance, up-front...

Briefs: Information Technology
Improved Tracking of Targets by Cameras on a Mars Rover

A paper describes a method devised to increase the robustness and accuracy of tracking of targets by means of three stereoscopic pairs of video cameras on a Mars-rover-type exploratory robotic vehicle. Two of the camera pairs are mounted on a mast that can be adjusted in pan and tilt; the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Sample Caching Subsystem

A paper describes the Sample Caching Subsystem (SCS), a method for storing planetary core and soil samples in a container that seals the samples away from the environment to protect the integrity of the samples and any organics they might contain. This process places samples in individual sleeves that are sealed within a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Multistage Passive Cooler for Spaceborne Instruments

A document describes a three-stage passive radiative cooler for a cryogenic spectrometer to be launched into a low orbit around the Moon. This cooler is relatively lightweight and compact, and its basic design is scalable and otherwise adaptable to other applications in which there are...

Briefs: Information Technology
GVIPS Models and Software

Two reports discuss, respectively, (1) the generalized viscoplasticity with potential structure (GVIPS) class of mathematical models and (2) the Constitutive Material Parameter Estimator (COMPARE) computer program. GVIPS models are constructed within a thermodynamics- and potential-based theoretical framework, wherein...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Stowable Energy-Absorbing Rocker-Bogie Suspensions

A report discusses the design of the rocker-bogie suspensions of the Mars Exploration Rover vehicles, which were landed on Mars in January 2004. Going beyond the basic requirements regarding mobility on uneven terrain, the design had to satisfy requirements (1) to enable each suspension to...

A battery-powered, pen-sized, portable instrument for measuring molecular fluorescence spectra of chemical and biological samples in the field has been proposed. Molecular fluorescence...

An architecture for back-illuminated complementary metal oxide/semiconductor (CMOS) and charge-coupled-device (CCD) ultraviolet/visible/near infrared-light image sensors, and a...

A compact, high-resolution, two-dimensional excitation-emission matrix fluorometer (EEMF) has been designed and built specifically for use in identifying and measuring the...

A metrology system that contains no moving parts simultaneously measures the bearings and ranges of multiple reflective targets in its vicinity, enabling determination of the...

This method uses a magnetic-fieldresponse contact sensor that is designed to identify surface contact and motion between contact locations. The sensor has three components:...

A magnetic field response sensor is designed to measure displacement or rotation rate without a physical connection to a power source, microprocessor, data acquisition equipment, or...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Portable Microleak-Detection System

The figure schematically depicts a portable microleak-detection system that has been built especially for use in testing hydrogen tanks made of polymer-matrix composite materials. (As used here,...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Cryogenic Shrouds for Testing Thermal-Insulation Panels

Cryogenic shrouds have been designed and built for use in thermo- mechanical testing of samples of thermal- insulation panels on cryogenic vessels. In the original application for which these shrouds were specifically designed, the samples are representative of the large area thermal-...

A free-to-roll (FTR) test technique and test rig make it possible to evaluate both the transonic performance and the wing-drop/rock behavior of a high-strength airplane model in a...

Modeling software is generally used to show the fields and flows that are impossible to see with the eye or instruments. A group of researchers has done just the opposite:...

Freeze tape casting is a means of making preforms of ceramic sheets that, upon subsequent completion of fabrication processing, can have anisotropic and/or functionally graded...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Electrophoretic Deposition on Porous Non-Conductors

A method of electrophoretic deposition (EPD) on substrates that are porous and electrically non-conductive has been invented. Heretofore, in order to perform an EPD, it has been necessary...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Tachometers Derived From a Brushless DC Motor

The upper part of the figure illustrates the major functional blocks of a direction-sensitive analog tachometer circuit based on the use of an unexcited two-phase brushless dc motor as a rotation...

A method of fabricating flexible assemblies comprising flexible integrated circuits bonded onto or into flexible membranes has been developed. The method provides for bonding of thinned...

Briefs: Software
Algorithm-Based Fault Tolerance for Numerical Subroutines

A software library implements a new methodology of detecting faults in numerical subroutines, thus enabling application programs that contain the subroutines to recover transparently from single-event upsets. The software library in question is fault-detecting middleware that is wrapped...

Briefs: Software
Computational Support for Technology- Investment Decisions

Strategic Assessment of Risk and Technology (START) is a user-friendly computer program that assists human managers in making decisions regarding research- and- development investment portfolios in the presence of uncertainties and of non- technological constraints that include budgetary...

Briefs: Software
DSN Resource Scheduling

TIGRAS is client-side software, which provides tracking-station equipment planning, allocation, and scheduling services to the DSMS (Deep Space Mission System). TIGRAS provides functions for schedulers to coordinate the DSN (Deep Space Network) antenna usage time and to resolve the resource usage conflicts among tracking...

Briefs: Software
Distributed Operations Planning

Maestro software provides a secure and distributed mission planning system for long-term missions in general, and the Mars Exploration Rover Mission (MER) specifically. Maestro, the successor to the Science Activity Planner, has a heavy emphasis on portability and distributed operations, and requires no data...

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