- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-09-07T17:42:05.000Z
<p style="margin-left:0in; margin-right:0in">Swarm robotics is one of the key enabling technologies for significantly extending mankind's reach beyond the Earth's surface. However, when bringing theory to practice, challenging problems related to the coordination and control of these swarms quickly arise. Vecna Robotics proposes a collaboration with MIT to extend existing autonomy behaviors and test platforms to address a class of planetary robotic operations involving heterogeneous teams of robots working together to accomplish a joint mission, with examples such as sample collection and mining. In these example applications, robots must perform coordinated task planning, operation, and execution while observing mission constraints that arise due to the asymmetric capabilities of the robot platforms. At pick-up and drop-off locations, there may be significant density of robots, requiring fast, real-time, coordinated motion planning to avoid collisions and achieve the desired behavior. To perform certain tasks, swarms of robots must localize relative to one-another to, for example, hold a formation while transiting from one task area to another.</p> <p style="margin-left:0in; margin-right:0in">The Vecna-MIT team will address these challenges by developing a system that both has high requirements for autonomy and can handle heterogeneous robot teaming. There are three key areas of work to achieve the goal: 1) develop functionality that can accept high-level goals and recruit agents to meet the goals, 2) implement a set of local platform autonomy behaviors that enable swarm-like functionality, and 3) implement a task-arbitration system that can switch between “swarm” behavior and more traditional autonomy. The proposing team will leverage their unique capabilities to provide limited testing of the swarm behaviors on existing test beds as part of the Phase I. The results of this work can contribute not only to NASA’s objectives but also in the defense, disaster-recovery, and commercial sectors as well.</p>
The GAPS Experiment: A Search for Dark Matter Using Low Energy Antiprotons and Antideuterons. University of California, Berkeley Co-I.data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-09-05T23:07:34.000Z
This is a Co-I proposal in support of the PI lead proposal entitled "The GAPS experiment: a search for dark matter using low energy antiprotons and antideuterons" submitted by Prof. Charles Hailey, Columbia University. Our proposed program would support the UC Berkeley tasks on the GAPS experiment as detailed in our task statement. The primary focus of this work in on the development and testing of the Si(Li) readout electronics and support of the flight program and scientific analysis.
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-09-05T23:07:30.000Z
OBJECTIVES: A major challenge for infrared remote sensing instruments of cold outer solar system targets is simultaneously detecting surface composition as well as surface temperatures. For cold targets <200K, the weak solar insolation results in thermal emission being in the far-IR. Given compositional signature are sensed in mid-IR, the science instrument needs a broad spectral grasp extending to the far-IR. The instrument development proposed here will determine surface composition and temperature of cold targets by using two focal planes to measure simultaneously both the mid- and far-IR. The objective of the proposal is to develop to TRL 3 a versatile infrared imaging spectrometer, spanning the spectral wavelength range 7 to 50 µm, with spectroscopic measurements in the 7-14 µm range and radiometric band measurements spanning 7-50 µm. This instrument is ideal for missions to airless bodies, including but not limited to Triton on a future Neptune Flagship-class mission, Trojan Asteroids, Enceladus or Io New Frontiers class missions. This instrument will build on substantial existing heritage and investments at GSFC, including the Voyager IRIS, Cassini CIRS, and recently a Thermal IMager for Europa Reconnaissance and Science (TIMERS) concept developed under Instrument Concepts for Europa Exploration (ICEE). The proposed instrument development will provide NASA a cold target optimized thermal imaging spectrometer to study cryovolcanism, heat flow, composition, and terrain. The innovative dual-focal plane design provides simultaneous mapping at mid and far IR wavelengths. The baseline design uses a custom 4-line 32 thermopile pixel array and a 384x288 pixel microbolometer array. The instrument has the capability to resolve temperature contrast to an accuracy of better than or equal to 2 K for surface temperatures greater than 70 K. The instrument can also provide 7-14 µm spectra of the surface with a spectral resolution of 200-350. METHODOLOGY: The thermal imaging spectrometer proposed here will build on substantial work that has already been done at GSFC on thermal instruments. In particular, this proposal will develop the key measurement concept namely the thermopile focal plane, which measures thermal radiation with multiple channels from 7-50 µm and allows some light to pass into a optical backend that measures the spectra from 7-14 µm. This backend consists of an Offner spectrometer that incorporates a grating and images a slit onto a microblomter array. Designed for pushbroom operation, the spacecraft velocity will be used to map the surface. The project has a work plan to develop the instrument over 3 years to TRL 3. We will begin with optical, mechanical and focal plane subsystem development, and finish with fabrication of key components to demonstrate key elements and provide a proof of concept of instrument capabilities. RELEVANCE: The proposed instrument development project responds directly to the PICASSO goal “to conduct planetary and astrobiology science instrument feasibility studies, concept formation, proof of concept instruments, and advanced component technology development.” The specific missions that we are targeting are a Flagship-class mission – currently under study by the Ice Giants Science Definition Team – and also New Frontiers missions to Io, Enceladus and Trojan asteroids. We will achieve this goal through development of a proof of concept prototype. Through infrared thermal mapping of planetary surfaces, this instrument will directly address science questions raised in the 2013 Decadal Survey for Planetary Sciences.
Common and Configurable Flash LIDAR Sensor for Space-Based Autonomous Landing, Rendezvous, and Docking Missions, Phase Idata.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-09-07T17:39:35.000Z
<p style="margin-left:0in; margin-right:0in">NASA has identified Flash LIDAR as the key mapping, pose, and range sensor technology of choice for autonomous entry, decent, and precision landing (EDL) on solar system bodies and autonomous rendezvous and docking operations (RDO) for asteroid sample and return, space craft docking, and space situational awareness missions. Flash LIDAR sensors exploit the time of flight principle to produce real time scene range and intensity maps at video rates. Existing 3D Flash LIDAR sensors are custom-built for the specific mission. However, NASA has concluded that the majority of the Flash LIDAR emerging performance and size, weight, and power (SWAP) requirements for both of these mission sets are similar. This revelation provides the motivation to develop a common configurable Flash LIDAR sensor that can be tuned to the specific objectives and accommodation constraints for each mission. State of the art 3D Flash LIDAR Focal Plane Array (FPA) and laser advancements are needed to advance the common sensor architecture initiative. The goal of the proposed Phase I program is to identify feasible FPA and laser state of the art design and performance advancements which enable a subsequent Phase II common Flash LIDAR sensor demonstration</p>
SCEPS In Space - Non-Radioisotope Power Systems for Sunless Solar System Exploration Missions (Phase II)data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-09-05T23:03:34.000Z
Stored Chemical Energy Power Systems (SCEPS) have been used in U.S. Navy torpedos for decades. The Penn State Applied Research Lab proposes to continue the study of applying this robust, high-energy-density concept to exploration missions that can't be powered by sunlight. Plutonium could be used, but its scarcity leaves many targets unexplored. In the NIAC Phase II study we will mature the Venus mission studied in Phase I and expand understanding of SCEPS for other targets. Testing will be done to determine SCEPS performance using CO2 as an oxidizer (Venus' atmosphere), and the Venus mission key risk areas addressed. Venus science goals will be revisited to prepare the Venus concept for the next level of study. Also, we will engage with the leaders in science planning for small bodies (asteroids and comets), outer planets (Jupiter's and Saturn's moons), and robotic missions to our own Moon and make a determination of the first, most high-impact use of SCEPS in space.
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-09-05T23:07:34.000Z
This is a Co-Investigator proposal for "STO-2: Support for 4th Year Operations, Recovery, and Science" with Prof. Christopher K. Walker (University of Arizona) as PI. As a participant in the STO-2 mission, ASU will participate in instrument design and construction, mission I&T, flight operations and data analysis. ASU has unique capabilities in the field of direct metal micromachining, which it will bring to bear on the STO-2 cold optical assembly, flight mixers and LO hardware. In addition, our extensive experience with receiver integration and test will supplement the capabilities of the PI institution during the I&T phase at the University of Arizona, CSBF (Palestine, TX) and in Antarctica. Both the ASU PI and student will also participate in data analysis and publication after the flight.
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-09-05T23:02:48.000Z
This data set contains Calibrated data taken by the New Horizons Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera instrument during the pluto cruise mission phase. This is VERSION 1.0 of this data set. The spacecraft was in hibernation for much of the Pluto Cruise mission phase, and the focus for RALPH (MVIC and LEISA) during Annual CheckOuts one through four (ACO1-4) was preparation for the Pluto Encounter in 2015, including functional tests, and calibrations. Science observations performed during this phase included Uranus and Neptune at phase angles (44 degrees and 34 degrees, respectively) not available from Earth (MVIC), calibrations with Neptune as a navigation test target (MVIC), Sun in the Solar Illumination Assembly (SIA) (MVIC and LEISA), the M6 and M7 clusters (MVIC), and other calibrations (stray light, dark, interference with other instruments).
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-09-05T23:06:06.000Z
Many molecular species that compose the interstellar medium have strong spectral features in the 2-5 THz range, and heterodyne spectroscopy is required to obtain ~km/s velocity resolution to resolve their complicated lineshapes and disentangle them from the background. Understanding the kinetics and energetics within the gas clouds of the interstellar medium is critical to understanding star formation processes and validating theories of galactic evolution. Herschel Observatory’s heterodyne HIFI instrument provided several years of high-spectral-resolution measurements of the interstellar medium, although only up to 1.9 THz. The next frontier for heterodyne spectroscopy is the 2-6 THz region. However, development of heterodyne receivers above 2 THz has been severely hindered by a lack of convenient coherent sources of sufficient power to serve as local oscillators (LOs). The recently developed quantum-cascade (QC) lasers are emerging as candidates for LOs in the 1.5-5 THz range. The current generation of single-mode THz QC-lasers can provide a few milliwatts of power in a directive beam, and will be sufficient to pump single pixels and small-format heterodyne arrays (~10 elements). This proposal looks beyond the state-of-the-art, to the development of large format heterodyne arrays which contain on the order of 100-1000 elements. LO powers on the order of 10-100 mW delivered in a high-quality Gaussian beam will be needed to pump the mixer array – not only because of the microwatt mixer power requirement, but to account for large anticipated losses in LO coupling and distribution. Large format heterodyne array instruments are attractive for a dramatic speedup of mapping of the interstellar medium, particularly on airborne platforms such as the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), and on long duration balloon platforms such as the Stratospheric Terahertz Observatory (STO), where observation time is limited. The research goal of this proposal is to demonstrate a new concept for terahertz quantum-cascade (QC) lasers designed to deliver scalable continuous-wave output power in the range of 10 to 100 mW or more in a near-diffraction limited output beam: a chip-scale THz quantum-cascade vertical-external-cavity-surface-emitting-laser (QC-VECSEL). We focus here on the development of a chip-scale version of size < 1 cm3 that oscillates in a single mode and can readily fit on a cold stage. The enabling technology for this proposed laser is an active metasurface reflector, which is comprised of a sparse array of antenna-coupled THz QC-laser sub-cavities. The metasurface reflector is part of the laser cavity such that multiple THz QC-laser sub-cavities are locked to a high-quality-factor cavity mode, which allows for scalable power combining with a favorable geometry for thermal dissipation and continuous-wave operation. We propose an integrated design, modeling, and experimental approach to design, fabricate, and characterize amplifying reflective QC metasurfaces and QC-VECSEL lasers. Demonstration laser devices will be developed at 2.7 THz and 4.7 THz, near the important frequencies for HD at 2.675 THz (for measurements of the hydrogen deuterium ratio and probing past star formation), and OI at 4.745 THz (a major coolant for photo-dissociation regions in giant molecular clouds). High resolution frequency measurements will be performed on a demonstration device at 2.7 THz will using downconversion with a Schottky diode sub-harmonic mixer to characterize the spectral purity, linewidth, and fine frequency tuning of this new type of QC-laser. This proposed laser is supporting technology for next-generation terahertz detectors.
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-09-07T17:47:26.000Z
<p>The molecular chemistry of interstellar and circumstellar environments consists of a complex interplay between gas- and solid-phase processes. An important step in unraveling this chemistry has been the observation and identification of gas-phase molecules, mainly by radio and microwave observations. Nearly 200 interstellar and circumstellar gas-phase molecules are known, but only about 10 identifications, mostly from infrared (IR) studies, have been made of solid-phase species, usually termed 'ices'. Determining the abundances of icy molecules has been a continual challenge due to the lack of appropriate laboratory measurements of spectral band strengths, optical constants, refractive indices, and ice densities. Our research group is now engaged in two new laboratory programs for just such measurements. In one program we measure IR optical constants (n and k) for molecules found in molecular ices. Our second new laboratory program focuses on densities and refractive indices, which are required for generating optical constants and spectral band strengths from laboratory IR data. This combination of research efforts within a single facility provides an unusual, if not unique, opportunity for producing the lab data required for more-accurate analysis and interpretation of Spitzer, and other, observations of interstellar ices. In spite of a general belief that such lab results may already be available, a careful literature search quickly reveals significant, surprising, and stunning gaps and deficiencies. The current situation is paradoxical in that twenty-first century spectra of astronomical ices near 10 K are being analyzed for molecular abundances using room-temperature physical properties and results from vacuum-tube dispersive spectrometers and mechanical planimeters. Here we propose a systematic effort to bring the lab data into the twenty-first century through the measurement of IR spectra and optical constants, refractive indices, and densities of several known interstellar ices and selected mixtures involving them. We also will study the degree to which data for individual covalently-bonded molecules can be combined and used to interpret the spectra of mixed-molecular ices.</p>
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-09-05T23:02:28.000Z
This data set contains Raw data taken by the New Horizons Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array instrument during the Pluto encounter mission phase. This is VERSION 3.0 of this data set. This data set contains LEISA observations taken during the the Approach (Jan-Jul, 2015), Encounter, Departure, and Transition mission sub-phases, including flyby observations taken on 14 July, 2015, and departure and calibration data through late October, 2016. This data set completes the Pluto mission phase deliveries for LEISA. This is version 3.0 of this dataset. Changes since version 2.0 include the addition of data downlinked between the end of January, 2016 and the end of October, 2016, completing the delivery of all data covering the Pluto Encounter and subsequent Calibration Campaign. It includes multi- map observations from the Approach phase, observations of the moons, and hi-res departure observations. It also includes functional tests from the Calibration Campaign including scans across the detector of Arcturus, and a second test of the Solar Illumination Assembly. Updates were made to the calibration files, documentation, and catalog files. The data were re-run through the pipeline, which changes the FITS headers of the raw files, but not the FITS data. The exceptions to that are products for which only sub-frame windows were downlinked in previous versions of this data set: those products have been re-downlinked either in full, or all regions outside the previously downloaded windows were downloaded and merged to form full-frame products. In so doing, some LEISA products have more frames downloaded, resulting in a change in the BANDS keyword value in PDS labels. Finally, the updated calibration files cause changes to all of the calibrated data.