Technology Highlights

A bright green laser beam is hitting a tiny glassy cube. The bottom photo shows the same setup, but with a large circular filter added in front of the glassy cube. The laser beam is invisible behind the filter, the glassy cube emits a reddish glow.

Solid State Quantum Magnetometers—Seeking out water worlds from the quantum world

“Follow the water!”  The solar system is full of water in different states, from the Sun’s water vapor to the ice of Pluto and beyond. Water is not only linked to the possibility to sustain life, it is also interesting…

A square grid containing arrows pointing in the direction of the aerosol flow, which is mainly toward the top righthand side of the grid.

NASA “Wildfire Digital Twin” Pioneers New AI Models and Streaming Data Techniques for Forecasting Fire and Smoke

NASA’s “Wildfire Digital Twin” project will equip firefighters and wildfire managers with a superior tool for monitoring wildfires and predicting harmful air pollution events and help researchers observe global wildfire trends more precisely.

A microscope image of a rectangular chip, showing the different parts of the superconducting camera, including imaging area and ancillary electronics. The chip has a colorful patina, with hues of yellow on the left, red in the center, and blue on the right.

Breaking the Scaling Limits: New Ultralow-noise Superconducting Camera for Exoplanet Searches

When imaging faint objects such as distant stars or exoplanets, capturing every last bit of light is crucial to get the most out of a scientific mission. These cameras must be extremely low-noise, and be able to detect the smallest…

A cylindrical metal device with an azimuthal white channel mounted to a metal support structure inside a much larger metal chamber. A blue glow lights up the azimuthal chamber and a blue plume radiates light to the right of the thruster.

Pushing the Limits of Sub-Kilowatt Electric Propulsion Technology to Enable Planetary Exploration and Commercial Mission Concepts

NASA has developed an advanced propulsion technology to facilitate future planetary exploration missions using small spacecraft. Not only will this technology enable new types of planetary science missions, one of NASA’s commercial partners is already preparing to use it for…

Making Ultra-fast Electron Measurements in Multiple Directions to Reveal the Secrets of the Aurora

The energetic electrons that drive the aurora borealis (the northern lights) have a rich and very dynamic structure that we currently do not fully understand.  Much of what we know about these electrons comes from instruments that have fundamental limitations…

Global map; different colored areas on each continent show the varying levels of freshwater

New NASA Software Simulates Science Missions for Observing Terrestrial Freshwater

From radar instruments smaller than a shoebox to radiometers the size of a milk carton, there are more tools available to scientists today for observing complex Earth systems than ever before. But this abundance of available sensors creates its own…

A grey space vehicle consisting of several attached sections; purple solar panels protrude from several of the sections.

Zero-Boil-Off Tank Experiments to Enable Long-Duration Space Exploration

Do we have enough fuel to get to our destination? This is probably one of the first questions that comes to mind whenever your family gets ready to embark on a road trip. If the trip is long, you will…

A satellite above planet Earth; the satellite consists of a rectangular box with four flat rectangular solar array panels attached.

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. These close-in planets provide a unique opportunity to observe in detail the phenomena critical to the development and evolution of…

A box-shaped instrument above a circular lens focusing on a white land mass and blue ocean area.

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 reducing the cost and complexity of dispatching infrared radiometers into low-Earth orbit.

A long, brown, cylindrical structure penetrates blue water; a beam of gold light projected from the side of the structure toward the surface.

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 roadmap for a cryobot mission concept to drill through the icy crusts of Europa and Enceladus and search for life.