- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-07-19T11:16:19.000Z
As humankind seeks to reach Mars and beyond, advancement of electric propulsion (EP) will be a key factor in the pursuit of deep-space exploration. EP uses acceleration methods (electrostatic and electromagnetic), which do not rely on the conversion of heat to kinetic energy. Thus, EP achieves higher specific impulses than chemical propulsion through the acceleration of ionized particles. Among EP devices, magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters can provide the high-specific impulse, high-power propulsion required to enable ambitious exploration missions to Mars and beyond. Despite their potential advantages, MPD thrusters have not demonstrated efficiencies near theoretical predictions, which may be due to the 'anode fall' and 'onset' phenomena. The proposed work is to investigate an MPD thruster with a suitable magnetic nozzle that can overcome the limitations imposed by anode fall and onset by controlling the field properties of the plasma in appropriate region of the nozzle and discharge chamber. Computational modeling provides a detailed understanding of the complex physical mechanisms. Improved magnetohydrodynamics models compared to experimental data will provide in-depth understanding of the limiting factors in the MPD thruster and useful insights for an optimal nozzle design. Finally, the proposed nozzle design will be tested numerically and experimentally. The proposed work will improve the overall efficiency of the thruster, critically aid in the development and characterization of next generation MPD thrusters, and contribute to advancing EP for more distant and critical space missions in the future.
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-07-19T13:16:58.000Z
Solar sails are an attractive means for propulsion of future spacecraft. One potential device for deploying and supporting very large solar sails is the CoilAble boom made by ATK Space Systems - Goleta (formally AEC-Able Engineering). CoilAble's have a long and reliable track record in space. KaZaK Composites is a major developer and supplier of pultruded composite structural members used in CoilAble booms. For solar sail applications, it is important to develop advanced technologies that create the lightest possible booms. KaZaK is already pultruding advanced solar sail test hardware made with IM-9 carbon fiber as a first step toward improving solar sails. This SBIR proposal will identify a replacement for the recently out-of-production IM-9 baseline carbon fiber, and pursue three additional lines of investigation aimed at creating significant improvements in next generation solar sail structures. Specifically, we will investigate methods for making 1) near-zero CTE pultruded members of unlimited length via materials hybridization, 2) very lightweight tubular structures, with and without cores, to reduce the weight of solar sail longerons, and 3) passively damped structures achieved by additives to the matrix of pultruded composite sail materials. Mast structural elements made with least one and possibly several of these technologies will be prototyped and tested in Phase I.
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-07-19T11:08:28.000Z
Aircraft Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) programs are implemented by most of the aircraft operators. Vast amounts of FOQA data are distributed between many computers, organizations, and geographic locations. This project develops methodology for transforming such distributed data into actionable knowledge in application to aircraft health management from the vehicle level to the fleet level to the national level. The distributed data processing methodology provably obtains the same results as would be obtained if the data could be centralized. The data mining methods are efficient and scalable so that they can return results quickly for 10Tb of distributed data. This data mining technology that we call Distributed Fleet Monitoring (DFM) developed in SBIR Phase I satisfies these requirements. The data are transformed into models, trends, and anomalies. The model training and anomaly monitoring are formulated as convex optimization and decision problems. The optimization agents are distributed over networked computers and are integrated through remote connection interface in a scalable open grid computing framework. Though the data and the computations are distributed, they yield provably the same optimal solution that would be obtained by a centralized optimization. DFM feasibility was demonstrated in the problem of monitoring aircraft flight performance from fleet data using large realistic simulated datasets. We demonstrated efficient computation of quadratic optimal solution by interacting distributed agents. The feasibility demonstration successfully recovered aircraft performance anomalies that are well below the level of the natural variation in the data and are not directly visible. The algorithms are very efficient and scalable. Phase I demonstration extrapolates to processing 10Tb of raw FOQA data in under an hour to detect anomalous units, abnormal flights, and compute predictive trends.
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-07-19T08:48:16.000Z
<p>In spite of our best efforts to minimize the amount of disposable supplies (and the associated packaging) used during space missions, the accumulation of solid wastes is an inevitable consequence of mission activity. That waste will occupy precious cargo or living space within the habitat unless it is properly managed. Converting solid wastes to an energy source presents a potential solution to this problem. Waste-to-energy (WTE) presents a viable solution to this problem in that the solid wastes can be converted into an energy source for use during a mission. Because this fuel is generated using available resources, it significantly offsets the initial mission logistics requirements, and provides several operational benefits and opportunities. WTE also addresses several terrestrial challenges related to our energy needs, environmental conservation, and our need to more efficiently use land resources. This study will produce a detailed chemical and thermodynamic model of a deep-space exploration waste stream. The model will be used in designing technologies for WTE systems within the Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) program and can also provide a starting point for commercial WTE systems.</p>
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-07-20T07:17:16.000Z
The investigation of the coating friction as a function of time is important to monitor the ball bearing heath. Despite the importance of the subject mater, there is a crucial lack of information in the literature about coating life and friction force in ball bearings as coating wear of progressively increases. Here we propose to develop a strategic space vehicle health monitoring system that will identify potential and/or imminent lubrication problems, analyze these parameters in real time, and provide direct input so that these problems are mitigated prior to failure. We will set up a lab experiment environment with a universal microtribometer and acoustic emission sensors measuring the signals associated with wear and the changes that tend to occur as a function of time. Friction force and acoustic signal will be measured with respect to the bearing condition. To capture the dynamic nature of friction evolution, we propose to extract the temporal transient features from the sensing data and develop Hidden Markov Models with four distinct states associated with four operation conditions of the ball bearing. Our system uniquely combine both physics-based and stochastic models for the online diagnosis.
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-08-02T15:25:23.000Z
Our mission archetype is exploration of hazardous, non-planar terrain, such as Martian caves or icy crevasses on Europa. Clusters of SPEARS sensors will be used to gather scientific measurements over a wide area. The major objective of this study is to demonstrate general feasibility of the concept and to make inroads in a few crucial technology bottlenecks. Experimentation with an early terrestrial prototype will demonstrate viability of core ideas and assist in evangelism. We will leverage existing test facilities, like our planetary roverscape, to provide great value relative to funding level. Lastly, analysis of SPEARS architecture in the context of possible future missions will ground this work for NASA relevance. A study in projectile payload selection will be performed, considering environmental and optical sensors. Strategies for anchoring, localization, and comms will be surveyed. Various thrust modalities (e.g. compressed gas vs. mechanical) for the launcher system will also be compared. Most critically, several automated multi-sensor data fusion techniques providing image stabilization, panoramic stitching, and 3D mapping (several of which this team has pioneered) will be evaluated and demonstrated. This will be accomplished by the construction of a basic terrestrial proof-of-concept system comprised of a CO2 projectile launcher and 2-3 example projectiles such as a camera, illuminator, and radio beacon. Existing algorithms and software will be built upon to demonstrate processing techniques, and extensions implemented to meet observed challenges will directly advance the state of the art.
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-09-07T17:47:49.000Z
This is a linked proposal from UCLA in support of the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) mission in direct support of the lead proposal which has been submitted by Prof Peter W. Gorham of the University of Hawaii. ANITA seeks to detect and elucidate the sources of the highest energy particles in the universe via measurements of cosmogenic ultra-high energy neutrinos. Such neutrinos are in many cases predicted to be the only unattenuated astrophysical messengers that arrive at Earth with precise directional information, since neutrinos are neutral particles with very weak interactions with matter in intergalactic space. Neutrinos that ANITA seeks to detect will signal the presence of the most extreme astrophysical accelerators and environments, and complement the information available via electromagnetic messengers from gamma-rays to radio waves. ANITA uses a long-duration balloon payload equipped with 48 dual-polarization horn antennas to detect radio impulses in the frequency range 200-1200 MHz, within which the properties of cold Antarctic ice include extreme radio-transparency and depths of up to 4 km. If a neutrino interacts anywhere within the ice sheet in ANITA's view from stratospheric altitudes, we can detect the emerging radio impulse and determine its direction and other characteristics with high precision. This in turn allows us to select candidate neutrinos from among the thermal and anthropogenic backgrounds with high confidence, and to derive angular information about the arrival direction of such candidates as well. Recently ANITA analysis investigated a new detection channel, which focuses on tau-lepton-generating neutrinos, which lead to a unique experimental signature for which ANITA has potentially very high sensitivity, and a candidate event has been detected in prior data. This new detection channel has added to the variety of methods by which ANITA continues to improve its sensitivity and reach into predicted models for cosmogenic neutrinos, for which ANITA has among the best constraints of any detector to date. ANITA is currently the only active NASA mission with the capability to measure ultra-high energy neutrinos, and ANITA's ultra-high energy neutrino sensitivity while on orbit is unmatched by any other instrument, ground- or space-based. As such it is a direct contributor to our understanding of the origin and evolution of the universe, through astrophysical messengers that provide unique information about the most extreme and energetic objects in the cosmos.
Ultrasensitive Analyzer for Realtime, In-Situ Airborne and Terrestrial Measurements of OCS, CO2, and CO, Phase IIdata.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-07-19T09:30:31.000Z
In this SBIR effort, Los Gatos Research (LGR) will employ its patented mid-infrared Off-Axis ICOS technique to develop a compact carbonyl sulfide (OCS), carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and water vapor (H2O) analyzer. This sensor will provide rapid (10 Hz), real-time, accurate measurements of these important trace gases with minimal calibration. The SBIR instrument will be capable of both terrestrial and airborne deployment to provide data in the troposphere, tropopause, and stratosphere. The resulting system will allow NASA researchers to acquire data that complements satellite observations made from missions in the Earth Observing System. The data will help elucidate stratospheric aerosol loading and terrestrial CO2 fluxes to improve climate models. Phase I, LGR demonstrated technical feasibility by fabricating an Off-Axis ICOS system for OCS, CO2, CO, and H2O quantification in ambient air. The prototype was highly precise (OCS, CO2, CO, and H2O to better than ±4 ppt, ±0.2 ppm, ±0.31 ppb, and ±3.7 ppm respectively), linear (R2 > 0.9997) over a wide dynamic range, and fast (2-Hz response), with no appreciable cross-interference between the measured species. Subsequently, LGR deployed the Phase I prototype locally and at a DOE Ameriflux site (Sherman Island, California). Phase II, LGR will develop and deliver two autonomous OCS, CO2, CO, and H2O analyzers for terrestrial flux and airborne monitoring respectively. The first analyzer, which will measure these gases at up to 10 Hz in a variety of terrestrial ecosystems, will be tested with Professor Chris Still for long-term monitoring and Professor Dennis Baldocci for eddy-flux measurements. The second instrument will be packaged for deployment aboard a select NASA aircraft, and include provisions for ambient temperature, humidity, and pressure fluctuatons. The flight sensor will be tested using a modified Mooney TLS with Dr. Stephen Conley and then deployed aboard a NASA aircraft.
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-09-05T23:07:39.000Z
This proposal sets out to answer the following astrophysically important questions: Where are oxygen, silicon, and iron found in the universe? What are their abundances and physical and chemical forms? A complete set of atomic, molecular, and solid-state photoabsorption data. We propose to generate such data through a combination of the following theoretical techniques. Firstly, R-matrix calculations will be carried out to obtain the K-shell photoabsorption of atomic silicon and the L-shell of iron; in this respect atomic oxygen has already been extensively treated by us. Secondly, the UK molecular R-matrix (UKRmol) package will be used to compute the photoabsorption of molecular oxygen (O2), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2). And thirdly, we will implement multiple scattering theory in tandem with an atomic R-matrix treatment for each atom to compute photoabsorption cross sections for condensed-matter systems such as oxides, silicates, and other compounds comprising interstellar dust and ice. A final model will be developed in a fashion consistent with the photoabsorption in all environments - atomic, molecular, and solid-state. To this end, a consistent model for all cases is developed that (1) preserves the oscillator strength sum rule per electron, and (2) exhibits the expected identical absorption away from the inner-shell thresholds. Such a model allows for a controlled measure of the quantitative differences in the near-edge structure of atomic, molecular, and solid-state X-ray spectral observations. For oxygen, the atomic neutral and ionic cross sections are now well established from our recent work, and we will use the UKRmol codes to compute K-shell photoabsorption cross sections for O2, CO, and H2O. For more complicated systems, we will perform R-matrix calculations for the individual atoms and utilize multiple scattering theory to compute the photoabsorption cross section. For Si, atomic R-matrix calculations will be performed for the K-shell atomic cross sections, and then multiple scattering theory will be used to treat more complex systems. For the more complex case of iron L-shell absorption, we will perform large-scale atomic R-matrix calculations, using three approaches: a non-relativistic LS-coupled Hamiltonian, a Breit-Pauli Hamiltonian, and a Dirac-Fock Hamiltonian, the latter two to include the important fine-structure splitting of thresholds. Multiple scattering theory will be used with the atomic R-matrix information to treat photoabsorption in solid-state environments, and a consistent atomic, molecular, and solid-state absorption model will be developed. By determining atomic, molecular and solid state cross sections on the same footing, we will use available experimental and astronomical (Chandra) observations, in the case of atomic oxygen, and experimental cross sections, in the case of silicates, to calibrate the exact position of all K-shell thresholds, as well as the absolute cross sections. Moreover, current experimental cross sections for a few silicate compositions will help us study the effects of chemical binding on the position and shape of the cross sections across inner-shell thresholds. Thus, we will be able to provide self-consistent cross sections for all forms of oxygen, silicon, and iron in the X-ray region accessible to Chandra and XMM-Newton. The derived data and analytical model will be made available to the astrophysics community, and will be incorporated into the XSTAR database for x-ray spectral modeling analysis. From observed x-ray spectra near the K-edge of O and Si, and the L-edge of Fe, we will infer the compositions of each of these three elements and help answer the question posed initially: in what forms and abundances are oxygen, silicon, and iron found in the universe?
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-07-19T10:29:30.000Z
The 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge seeks to develop the fundamental technologies necessary to manufacture habitats using indigenous materials, including recycled materials. The long-term vision is that habitat-manufacturing machines could someday be deployed for the Moon, Mars or beyond to autonomously prepare shelters for humans. The Design Competition is an architectural design activity which invites participants to design a habitat which utilizes additive construction advantages over traditional construction.