Technology Highlights 2017

Photo of three scientists (1 female, 2 male) working on Q-PACE electronics at a desk.
Solar System
Nov 24, 2020
Q-PACE will capture video of thousands of gentle collisions between particles in microgravity to understand the earliest steps in planet formation.
Earth
Nov 10, 2020
The miniaturized SAGE IV Pathfinder instrument may one day enable a constellation of small satellites to continue and enhance atmospheric ozone monitoring.
Photo of two men with the SAGE IV instrument hardware on a tripod
Earth
Sep 29, 2020
To help monitor ground deformation from space, NASA developed a new technology equipped with an S-band Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) for a small satellite platform.
Photo of 3 Sisters volcano
Solar System
Sep 1, 2020
When a space vehicle lands on the Moon, it interacts with the lunar surface by kicking up dust, creating heat, and even leaving chemical traces. Scientists need a way to gauge how the materials in the vicinity of lunar landing sites are affected to ensure accurate analysis of any surface samples... Read More
Photo of scientists in lab assembling equipment
Universe
Aug 18, 2020
The ultraviolet spectral range is rich with information about the atmospheres of exosolar planets, star formation, supernovae, the circumgalactic medium, and much more. Two future flagship mission concepts, Habitable Exoplanet characterization (HabEx) and Large Ultraviolet/Optical/Infrared survey... Read More
Photo of a male and female scientist is a lab full of equipment
Earth
Aug 4, 2020
The Hyper-Angular Rainbow Polarimeter’s measurements help us better understand how clouds and aerosols impact weather, climate, and air quality.
Satellite image indicating cloud and aerosol coverage in the atmosphere
Solar System
Jul 14, 2020
NASA researchers are exploring a new radar-based method to map water vapor both in Earth’s atmosphere and near the surface of Mars.
Photo of some members of the WASSR team loading science gear onto an aircraft
Universe
Jun 30, 2020
A team at GSFC is investigating techniques for creating highly reflective aluminum mirrors sensitive to the far-ultraviolet in addition to the infrared, optical, and visible wavelengths.
Photo of engineers in GSFC coating lab
Solar System
Jun 9, 2020
Spacecraft frequently employ solar cells and arrays to collect energy from the Sun to power onboard systems. But just like any other spacecraft system, these cells and arrays must be capable of operating in the harsh environments that their host satellite encounters.
Artist concept of spacecraft with mirrors in orbit
Earth
May 26, 2020
A new miniature sensor, in conjunction with robust data processing techniques, is enabling a satellite the size of a backpack is to reveal Earth’s temperature from space.
Photo of CIRiS taking off on a rocket in Cape Canaveral
Universe
May 12, 2020
NASA conducted a detailed study to understand when it is worth assembling telescopes in space rather than folding them into a single rocket and deploying them in space.
Rendition of iSAT telescope concept
Sun
Apr 27, 2020
New technology demonstrated on BITSE has simultaneously detected the 2D density, temperature, and speed of electrons in the solar corona for the first time.
Photo of Dr. Jeff Newmark and Dr. Nat Gopalswamy
Solar System
Apr 14, 2020
The next phase of groundbreaking planetary science requires access to the sub-surface and a means to capture planetary material for analysis.
Photo of DrACO team
Earth
Mar 31, 2020
A new instrument flew aboard NASA’s ER-2 airplane to measure the Moon’s brightness. Data from this instrument will eventually help other space-based sensors improve the Earth observations they collect.
Photo of air-LUCI deployment team
Universe
Mar 18, 2020
To cool proposed future science instruments to operating temperatures well below one Kelvin, NASA is developing an advanced spaceflight magnetic refrigeration system.
Photo of CADR Team
Earth
Dec 4, 2017
TCIS is a tool that fuses hurricane models and observations within a web-based system to improve forecasting capabilities.
This screen capture from the TCIS tool shows some of the enhancements to interactive region selection, model and data acquisition, statistical comparison, and visualization.
Solar System
Nov 6, 2017
NASA’s future planetary exploration efforts, including missions to Venus, require electronics capable of surviving temperatures of 470° C and above for long durations. Such durable electronics eliminate the need for cooling systems to enable sustained operations. A team at NASA Glenn Research... Read More
photo of planet Venus
Earth, Earth’s Space Environment
Oct 23, 2017
In 2016, scientists at Goddard Space Flight Center produced mirrors with the highest reflectance ever reported in the farultraviolet spectral range. To develop these mirrors, the team developed a new three-step physical vapor deposition process to coat aluminum mirrors with protective magnesium... Read More
The ICON FUV spectrograph.
Universe, Stars
Oct 10, 2017
This blog post originated in the 2016 Science Mission Directorate Technology Highlights Report (20 MB PDF).
Close-up of a Schottky diode, showing the air-bridge that connects the anode
Earth
Sep 25, 2017
This blog post originated in the 2015 Science Mission Directorate Technology Highlights Report (2 MB PDF).
Photo of scientist testing PUFFER on snowy surface
Earth, Ice
Sep 11, 2017
This blog post originated in the 2015 Science Mission Directorate Technology Highlights Report (2 MB PDF). Technology Development: A new instrument, the Ultrawideband Software-Defined Microwave Radiometer (UWBRAD), aims to provide measurements of ice sheet thermal emission to remotely sense... Read More
Photograph of Canadian Rocky mountains, view from airplane
Universe, Stars
Aug 28, 2017
This blog post originated in the 2015 Science Mission Directorate Technology Highlights Report (2 MB PDF).
Photo of dust accelerator setup in laboratory
Earth
Jul 31, 2017
This blog post originated in the 2015 Science Mission Directorate Technology Highlights Report (2 MB PDF). Technology Development: The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat mission launched on November 11, 2016 as a secondary payload on a United Launch Alliance... Read More
Photo of model of RAVAN with deployed solar panels
Universe
Jul 11, 2017
This blog post originated in the 2015 Science Mission Directorate Technology Highlights Report (2 MB PDF).
illustrated diagram
Earth
Apr 20, 2017
Technology Infused: In March 2015, NASA launched an exciting new mission to investigate how the sun’s and Earth’s magnetic fields connect and disconnect, explosively transferring energy from one field to the other. This process—called magnetic reconnection—influences celestial bodies throughout the... Read More
Artist concept of mission spacecraft flying through magnetic fields around earth
Mars
Apr 13, 2017
This blog post originated in the 2015 Science Mission Directorate Technology Highlights Report (2 MB PDF).
Video still frame of new rover navigating rocky terrain
Universe
Apr 6, 2017
This blog post originated in the 2015 Science Mission Directorate Technology Highlights Report (2 MB PDF).
Artist illustration of LISA pathfinder spacecraft in orbit around earth
Solar System
Mar 31, 2017
This blog post originated in the 2015 Science Mission Directorate Technology Highlights Report (2 MB PDF). Technology Infused: The Lunar polar Hydrogen Mapper (LunaH-Map) mission is a CubeSat that will detect the amount of hydrogen at the moon’s South Pole.
Photo of propulsion system for LunaH-Map
Earth
Mar 23, 2017
Technology Infused: After over 20 years of tests and development, NASA’s Balloon Program team is on the cusp of expanding the envelope in high-altitude, heavylift ballooning with its super pressure balloon (SPB) technology. SMD technology investments that enabled development of SPB, the first... Read More
Photograph of balloon being inflated on airport tarmac