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.
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.
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.
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.
Fabrication of Nanopipette Arrays for Biosensing
This invention provides an array of nanopipette channels, formed and controlled in a metal-like material that supports anodization. The invention also permits selective first and second functionalizations, which may be the same or be different, of first and second channel surfaces so that different reactions of a multi-component fluid flowing in these channels can be evaluated simultaneously. The materials that support anodization include aluminum, magnesium, zinc, titanium, tantalum and niobium, referred to as "AN-metals." The relevant, controllable anodization parameters include applied electrical potential, current density, electrolyte concentration,solution pH, solution temperature and anodization time. The channel parameters that can be controlled include pore diameter, pore density or spacing and maximum channel length of a pore. An anodization process is initially applied to provide a plurality of adjacent nanopipette channels having inner diameters in a selected range, such as 10-50 nanometers (nm). The nanopipette array can sense the presence of a specified component(s), by production of a characteristic signal associated with the functionalized site in the presence of the specified component. Differing concentrations of the same specified component can also be estimated and controlled.
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.
Remote Sensing Based on Fluorescence LIDAR
As originally developed, BILI is a novel planetary Astrobiology instrument based on a real-time technique of remote detection and discrimination of bio-signatures dispersed in the ground-level planetary atmosphere, leveraging the fluorescence lidar technology. Capabilities of this first planetary atmospheric bio-indicator survey instrument will dramatically increase the probability of finding the signatures of extraterrestrial life by performing atmospheric volume scans of hundreds of meters in a radial direction around the rover or lander. The Bio-Indicator Lidar technology employs real-time aerosol particle detection and discrimination based on two physical variables: particle fluorescence and particle size in the bio-discrimination space.
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.
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.
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.