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environment
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Habitat Water Wall for Water, Solids, and Atmosphere Recycle and Reuse
This approach allows water recycling, air treatment, thermal control, and solids residuals treatment and recycle to be removed from the usable habitat volume and placed in the walls of a radiation-shielding water wall. It also provides a mechanism to recover and reuse water treatment (solids) residuals to strengthen the habitat shell. Water-wall treatment elements are a much-enlarged version of the commercially available X-Pack hydration bag. Some water bags have pervaporation membranes facing inward that provide the capability to remove H0, C0, and trace organics from the atmosphere. Ideally the water wall is composed of a series of membrane bags packed as dry elements integrated into an inflatable habitat structure wall. After launch and deployment, it is filled with water and maintained as both a freshwater supply and radiation shield. As the initial water supply is consumed, the depleted treatment bags are filled with waste water and take on a dual role of active forward osmosis (FO) water treatment and water-wall radiation shielding.
sensors
Reflective Nanotube
Dielectrophoresis-Based Particle Sensor Using Nanoelectrode Arrays
A time-varying electrical field E, having a root-mean-square intensity of 2rms, with a non-zero gradient in a direction transverse to the liquid or fluid flow direction, is produced by a nanostructure electrode array with a very high magnitude gradient near exposed electrode tips. A dielectrophoretic force causes the selected particles to accumulate near the electrode tips, if the medium and selected particles have substantially different dielectric constants. An insulating material surrounds most of the nanostructure electrodes, and a region of the insulating material surface is functionalized to promote attachment of the selected particle species to the surface. An electrical property value Z(meas) is measured at the functionalized surface, and is compared with a reference value Z(ref) to determine if the selected species particles are attached to the functionalized surface. An advantage of this innovation is that an array of nanostructure electrodes can provide an electric field intensity gradient that is one or more orders of magnitude greater than the corresponding gradient provided by a conventional microelectrode arrangement. As a result of the high magnitude field intensity gradients, a nanostructure concentrator can trap particles from high-speed microfluidic flows. This is critical for applications where the entire analysis must be performed in a few minutes.
environment
Berlin, Germany
CubeSat Compatible High Resolution Thermal Infrared Imager
This dual band infrared imaging system is capable of spatial resolution of 60 m from orbit and earth observing expected NEDT less than 0.2o C. It is designed to fit within the top two-thirds of a 3U CubeSat envelope, installed on the International Space Station, or deployed on other orbiting or airborne platforms. This infrared imaging system will utilize a newly conceived strained-layer superlattice GaSb/InAs broadband detector array cooled to 60 K by a miniature mechanical cryocooler. The camera is controlled by a sensor chip assembly consisting of a newly developed 25 m pitch, 640 x 512 pixel.
environment
Alaskas Pavlof Volcano: NASAs View from Space
Miniaturized Laser Heterodyne Radiometer
This instrument uses a variation of laser heterodyne radiometer (LHR) to measure the concentration of trace gases in the atmosphere by measuring their absorption of sunlight in the infrared. Each absorption signal is mixed with laser light (the local oscillator) at a near-by frequency in a fast photoreceiver. The resulting beat signal is sensitive to changes in absorption, and located at an easier-to-process RF frequency. By separating the signal into a RF filter bank, trace gas concentrations can be found as a function of altitude.
sensors
Three wind turbines
Lightning Mitigation and Damage Detection
The NASA technology can be used to protect tall structures from lightning strike damage. When a lightning leader propagates through the atmosphere in the vicinity of a tall structure, the lightning electromagnetic emissions generated from the moving electrical charge will impinge upon the tall structure before the actual charge attaches. As the lightning leader propagates closer to the tall structure, the radiated emissions at the tall structure will grow stronger. The SansEC sensor is designed to operate within the lightning radiated emission spectrum and thus is passively powered by the external oscillating magnetic field from the lightning itself. The sensor will resonate and generate its own oscillating magnetic and electric fields which have been demonstrated to influence lighting attachment and propagation.
sensors
Gas Composition Sensing Using Carbon Nanotube Arrays
An array of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in a substrate is connected to a variable-pulse voltage source. The CNT tips are spaced appropriately from the second electrode maintained at a constant voltage. A sequence of voltage pulses is applied and a pulse discharge breakdown threshold voltage is estimated for one or more gas components, from an analysis of the current-voltage characteristics. Each estimated pulse discharge breakdown threshold voltage is compared with known threshold voltages for candidate gas components to estimate whether at least one candidate gas component is present in the gas. The procedure can be repeated at higher pulse voltages to estimate a pulse discharge breakdown threshold voltage for a second component present in the gas. The CNTs in the gas sensor have a sharp (low radius of curvature) tip; they are preferably multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) or carbon nanofibers (CNFs), to generate high-strength electrical fields adjacent to the current collecting plate, such as a gold plated silicon wafer or a stainless steel plate for breakdown of the gas components with lower voltage application and generation of high current. The sensor system can provide a high-sensitivity, low-power-consumption tool that is very specific for identification of one or more gas components. The sensors can be multiplexed to measure current from multiple CNT arrays for simultaneous detection of several gas components.
sensors
Gas Refinery Pipes
Detection Of Presence Of Chemical Precursors
These needs are met by this invention, which provide easy stem and associated method for detecting one or more chemical precursors (components) of a multi-component explosive compound. Different carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are loaded (by doping, impregnation, coating, or other functionalization process) for detecting of different chemical substances that are the chemical precursors, respectively, if these precursors are present in a gas to which the CNTs are exposed. After exposure to the gas, a measured electrical parameter (e.g. voltage or current that correlate to impedance, conductivity, capacitance, inductance, etc.) changes with time and concentration in a predictable manner if a selected chemical precursor is present, and will approach an asymptotic value promptly after exposure to the precursor. The measured voltage or current are compared with one or more sequence soft heir reference values for one or more known target precursor molecules, and a most probable concentration value is estimated for each one, two, or more target molecules. An error value is computed, based on differences of voltage or current for the measured and reference values, using the most probable concentration values. Where the error value is less than a threshold, the system concludes that the target molecule is likely. Presence of one, two, or more target molecules in the gas can be sensed from a single set of measurements.
aerospace
AeroPod
AeroPod
The AeroPods design for steadying and damping payloads includes the use of a tail boom and fin combination. It is a novel design and provides a relatively simple alternative to the traditional methods for suspending equipment from kites or blimps. The AeroPod is superior to the traditional Picavet pulley-style suspension system for kite-flight because its light weight, simple to construct, and has no moving parts. Furthermore, the AeroPod design is advantageous to the traditional tethered blimp suspension technique where tether motion is translated directly to the sensor system because the AeroPod is free of direct motions of the tether.
materials and coatings
Microscopic nano-texture of MAC
Molecular Adsorber Coating (MAC)
MAC is a zeolite based coating that captures and traps molecules in its microscopically porous structure. This microscopic nano-textured structure, consisting of large open pores or cavities, within a crystal- like structure, provides a large surface area to mass ratio that maximizes available trapping efficiency. MAC is a durable coating that is applied through spray application. These sprayable coatings eliminate the major drawbacks of puck type adsorbers (weight, size, and mounting hardware requirements), resulting in cost savings, mass savings, easier utilization, greater adsorber surface area, more flexibility, and higher efficiency. This coating works in air, as well as vacuum systems, depending on the application. There is potential for ground based spin-off applications of this coating, particularly in areas where contaminants and volatile compounds need to be collected and contained. Example industries include: pharmaceutical production, the food industry, electronics manufacturing (circuit boards and wafers), laser manufacturing, vacuum systems, chemical processing, paint booths, and general gas and water adsorption.
instrumentation
Powder Handling Device for Analytical Instruments
Powder Handling Device for Analytical Instruments
This invention is a system and associated method for causing a fine-grained powder in a sample holder to undergo at least one of three motions (vibration, rotation or translation) at a selected motion frequency in order to expose a statistically relevant population of grains in random orientation to a diffraction or fluorescent source. One or more measurements of diffraction, fluorescence, spectroscopic interaction, transmission, absorption and/or reflection can be made on the sample, using x-rays or light in a selected wavelength region. In one embodiment, the invention allows the relaxation of sample preparation and handling requirements for powder X-ray Diffraction (pXRD). The sample, held between two thin plastic windows, undergoes granular convection similar to a heated liquid, causing the individual grains to move past a collimated X-ray beam in random orientation over time. The result is an X-ray diffraction pattern having the correct diffracted intensities without a requirement for specialized mechanical motions. A major improvement over conventional sample preparation and handling techniques for pXRD is the potential to characterize larger grain-size material, resulting in a significant relaxation of the constraints on sample preparation (grinding). The powder handling system as described extends the range of useful grain sizes for XRD/ X-ray fluorescence (XRF) from a few micrometers (m) to several hundred m. Inclusion of the powder handling system enables automated instruments such as CheMin, a robotic XRD/XRF instrument designed and developed by NASA, to analyze as-received or coarsely powdered samples on NASAs Mars Science Laboratory rover, or in extreme, toxic or hazardous environments on Earth.
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