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.
The smartphone in your pocket packs more computing power than all of NASA had at its disposal when it first sent humans to the moon. But many spacecraft still rely on outdated computers to process immense amounts of complex data. “Software for processing data more efficiently can only be as revolutionary as the hardware hosting it. To improve data processing, that computing hardware must also keep pace,” said James Yamaguchi, Vice President of 3D Electronics and Mass Storage at Irvine Sensors Corporation.