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Physical Sciences

Briefs : Software
Automatic Localization of MSL Rover Mosaics in HiRISE Imagery

Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) surface operations require precise and accurate knowledge of rover position. A key means of establishing/verifying position is to match ortho-rectified mosaics from the MSL onboard cameras to orbital data. Manual localization by matching mosaics to HiRISE...

Briefs : Software
SAM/MSL Terrestrial Background Spectral Library

The SAM/MSL Terrestrial Background Spectral Library is one of the tools developed for identifying known terrestrial background for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) mission. The SAM instrument suite can detect trace elements in the ppb range and therefore requires a...

Briefs : Software
Efficient Spectral Endmember Detection Onboard Spacecraft

Spaceflight and planetary exploration place severe constraints on the available bandwidth for downlinking large hyperspectral images. Communications with spacecraft often occur intermittently, so mission-relevant hyperspectral data must wait for analysis on the ground before it can inform...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Ray Tracing Model and Software for a Focused IR Lamp Heating System

When the space shuttle’s external tank (ET) was being filled with the cryogenic fuel components LOX and LH2, moisture from the surrounding atmosphere could condense onto the ET’s sprayed-on foam insulation (SOFI). This condensation could drip onto components, such as the LOX...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Using the Web Sockets Full-Duplex Communication Channel to Display Real-Time Sensor Data via Standard Web Browser

Web Sockets is a network full-duplex communication channel that allows Javascript programs embedded in Web pages to establish connections to applications running on the server that provided the Web pages. Two-way communication is...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Earth Now Mobile Phone App

A mobile device application created by NASA visualizes recent global climate data from Earth science satellites, including air temperature, sea surface salinity, carbon monoxide, ozone, and water vapor, as well as gravity and sea level variations. This app is an Open GL simple 3D object viewer for the Apple IOS and...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
PACIFIC: Process Algebra Capture of Intent from Information Content

Mixed-initiative teams of robots and humans working side-by-side in close proximity to each other need to be capable of reasoning about the actions and activities of each other within a mission context. This capability requires the robotic agents to have a sense of self, and...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Analytical Expression of Elevation-Dependent Relative Air Mass for Atmospheric Extinction Simulations

This software enables one to calculate elevation-dependent relative air mass. When imaging a setting or rising Sun on the ground or from space, the shape and the intensity distribution of a captured image are affected by the following three...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Quantification of Trace Chemicals Using the Vehicle Cabin Atmosphere Monitor

A software program analyzes data measured by the Vehicle Cabin Atmosphere Monitor (VCAM) and quantifies the concentrations of trace chemicals detected by VCAM. The software contains a unique way to quantify the signal measured by VCAM, to establish the concentration...

Briefs : Software
Improved Math Model for Multiphoto Measurement Systems

The bundle adjustment, or more specifically, the colinearity math model it is based on, is undisputedly the most accurate method to perform 3D scene reconstruction from multiple images. It has been the gold standard since first developed in 1957–1959. The limitations of the method have...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Multipurpose Attitude and Pointing System (MAPS) Version 6.2

MAPS is a suite of software tools used for pre-flight planning, real-time support, and post-flight analysis of spacecraft attitude and pointing for the International Space Station (ISS), HII Transfer Vehicle (HTV), Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), and other low Earth orbit (LEO)...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Steady-State Thermal Test Methodology

This innovation provides the following thermal properties data from a single steady-state test run: the effective thermal conductivity value (ke) for the full temperature difference, and multiple thermal conductivity values (λ) for intermediate temperatures. The test specimen (or material) is...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Silicon Carbide Power Processing Unit for Hall Effect Thrusters

A high-efficiency, rad-hard, 3.5-kW SiC power supply was developed for the power processing unit (PPU) of Hall effect thrusters. This work specifically targets the design of a PPU power supply for the HiVHAC (High Voltage Hall Accelerator) thruster. The PPU power supply under...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Intensity-Calibrated Hydrogen Flame Spectrum

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) uses large quantities of liquid hydrogen and has expended significant effort in the development, testing, installation, and maintenance of hydrogen fire detectors based on ultraviolet, near-infrared, mid-infrared, and/or far-infrared flame...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Exciting and Detecting Electromagnetic Energy in a High-Temperature Microwave Cavity

There is a need to perform accurate, high-temperature, complex dielectric constant measurements at microwave frequencies on materials, such as those on the surface of Venus (surface temperature 460 °C). One approach is to excite and detect a TE10n...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Hollow aErothermal Ablation and Temperature (HEAT) Sensor for Tracking Isotherm Through TPS Material

The Hollow aErothermal Ablation and Temperature (HEAT) sensor is a multifunction sensor designed to track an isotherm by making an independent transient measurement at a defined location in the sensor that is equal to the temperature at which its...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Hydrogen Measurement in a Cryogen Flow Stream Reduces Waste of Helium

The purpose of this research was to develop an improved method for measuring hydrogen concentrations in a cryogen flow stream to minimize helium waste during the purge process. Currently, this type of measurement is performed manually with a sniffer, and involves obtaining...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Noncontact DC and AC Magnetostrictive Current Sensor

At the time of this reporting, there have been no effective methods of monitoring current in conductors in space without breaking the circuit or making contact with the conductor. In space, reliability rules all designs, and breaking a circuit to insert a sensor to monitor current would reduce...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Method and Apparatus for Determining Propellant Mass in Microgravity by Capacitance Measurements

Propellant mass gauging in microgravity has posed a challenge for decades. Various methods have been applied, including ultrasonic, capacitance probes, point level sensors, thermal detectors (thermistors, thermocouples, etc.), Michelson...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Preparation, Planning, and Concept Demo of a Technique to Find ≈7-to-10-m Near Earth Asteroids

A paper describes a new technique designed to increase significantly the sensitivity for finding and tracking small, dim, and fast-moving near Earth asteroids (NEAs). The technique relies on a combined use of a novel data processing approach and a...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Strobing to Mitigate Vibration for Display Legibility

This method mitigates the motion blur introduced when a display, and/or the operator reading it, is undergoing vibration (e.g. during the launch phase of spaceflight). If both the operator and the display are undergoing vibration, their respective impulses need not be in phase. This...

Briefs : Imaging
Imaging Space System Architectures Using a Granular Medium as a Primary Concentrator

Typically, the cost of a space observatory is driven by the size and mass of the primary aperture. Generally, a monolithic aperture is much heavier and complex to fabricate (hence, more costly) than an aperture of the same size but composed of much smaller...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Image Processing Method To Determine Dust Optical Density

Image processing techniques for determining dust optical density in Apollo videos have been developed. The software generates histograms, and calculates the mean and standard deviation, which are then used to match dusty and clear images for the purpose of estimating an effective optical...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Vibration and Thermal Cycling Apparatus for Cryogenic Tanks

Understanding thermal and mechanical behaviors and their inter-dependencies of complex tank systems is crucial to making proper design decisions. Low-maintenance, high-performance systems are becoming more important as global energy demands and efficiency requirements increase.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Integrated Rate Isolation Sensor

Some vehicles use an internal measurement unit (IMU) system to determine the speed, acceleration, orientation, position, and/or direction of movement of the vehicle. Vehicles used for high-availability or life-critical systems may employ a fault-tolerant IMU design. Typically, such vehicles use three or more IMUs...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Mercury-Cadmium-Telluride Focal Plane Array for Warm Alignment of Imaging Spectroscopy Systems

A new technique allows a mercury-cadmium-telluride (MCT) focal plane array (FPA) to operate at room temperature. These results were obtained through experimentation by varying the integration time, frame rate, and bias levels to optimize the output...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Enhanced Auditory Alert Systems

Auditory warning systems for human interfaces are often designed around criteria that depend primarily upon signal loudness. It is well understood from the auditory literature that, by making an alert signal substantially louder than the measured background noise level, one can insure that an alert signal will be...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Carbon Monoxide Silicate Reduction System

Oxygen produced from lunar resources is a very desirable product to greatly reduce the mass lifted from the Earth’s surface in support of exploration activities. The ability to obtain high yields of oxygen from undifferentiated lunar soils enables planning for near-term piloted missions to the Moon....

Briefs : Data Acquisition
Real-Time Minimization of Tracking Error for Aircraft Systems

In many cases when an aircraft/spacecraft vehicle encounters a failure (such as a jammed control or loss of a part), there are still enough redundant actuation mechanisms to safely maneuver the vehicle. However, most pilots/autonomous systems are unable to adapt to the altered...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Lunar Organic Waste Reformer

The Lunar Organic Waste Reformer (LOWR) is a novel technology to convert organic wastes from human space exploration outposts into useful propellant constituents. The LOWR meets NASA’s Trash to Supply Gas (TtSG) objective under the Advanced Exploration Systems Logistics Reduction and Repurposing project by...