Science-enabling Technology

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

HARP instrument deorbits after pioneering novel atmospheric observation technologies

NASA’s Hyper-Angular Rainbow Polarimeter (HARP) instrument deorbited after 777 days in space, successfully ending a two-year mission that pioneered new technologies for observing cloud and aerosol properties from space – which is crucial for learning more about Earth phenomena like air pollution and climate change.

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