Science-enabling Technology

M51, the Whirlpool galaxy

Achieving the Science Mission Directorate’s groundbreaking science goals often requires significant technological innovation—e.g., new instruments or cutting-edge capabilities. Each SMD science division—Astrophysics, Biological and Physical Sciences, Earth Science, Heliophysics, and Planetary Science—develops new technologies targeted to enable SMD science. Often, these efforts are accomplished via division-sponsored technology development or mission programs. The directorate also sponsors collaborative workshops where stakeholders examine how innovative technologies can enable Agency missions. In addition, SMD coordinates with other NASA directorates, government agencies, industry, and academia to ensure its research programs and missions have the technology they need to accomplish revolutionary science.

Technology Highlights

The CUTE Mission: Innovative Design Enables Observations of Extreme Exoplanets from a Small Package

Of the approximately 5,500 exoplanets discovered to date, many have been found to orbit very close to their parent stars.…

Mighty MURI brings the heat to test new longwave infrared radiometer

NASA's new Multiband Uncooled Radiometer Instrument (MURI) features a novel bolometer that detects infrared radiation without a cryogenic cooler, greatly…

Digging Deeper to Find Life on Ocean Worlds

In February 2023, researchers from around the country gathered at a NASA-sponsored workshop to discuss the latest developments and a…

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