Technology Highlights 2017

Photo of a large metal instrument in a lab
Sun
Jan 18, 2022
NASA has developed a new type of instrument that can provide key information to predict and understand solar flares.
Solar System
Jan 4, 2022
To address the growing need for in situ molecular analysis of Mars samples at fine spatial scales, NASA is developing the miniature LITMS instrument, which combines a laser and gas chromatograph mass spectrometer with a precision subsampling system. LITMS executes a powerful search for... Read More
Space Experiments
Dec 14, 2021
A NASA-sponsored team has developed a discovery environment that enables researchers to explore information on radiation exposure from numerous spaceflight experiments and extend our understanding of how radiation affects life forms in space.
Photograph of three team members working at a table with a flask containing a yellow-green fluid, a clear canister with a rooted plant and a metal box.
Earth
Nov 30, 2021
A team of researchers are working on a novel computer-tile technology that could help space-based remote sensors process data more efficiently.
Photo of 3 cubesats in orbit above the earth taken from the ISS.
Universe
Nov 9, 2021
The search for and characterization of extra-solar planets (‘exoplanets’) that might host life is one of NASA’s highest ambitions. But observing exoplanets and distinguishing them from the scattered light coming from the stars that they orbit is a difficult challenge.
Solar System
Oct 12, 2021
Dynamic Radioisotope Power Systems may enable lunar science payloads to survive and thrive during the harsh lunar night.
Photograph of two men wearing breathing masks and sitting in a lab with blue metal cases holding computer equipment.
Space Experiments
Sep 28, 2021
NASA is demonstrating that even without the help of gravity, hydroponic plant watering methods can enable plant habitats aboard crewed or robotic space missions.
Photograph of a woman on the ISS next to the hydroponics research experiment with orange fluid in clear boxes connected by tubes.
Universe
Sep 14, 2021
Gravitational waves are minute ripples in space-time caused by the most energetic events in the universe—like the collision of two supermassive black holes. To detect gravitational waves, we will measure the tiny variations in the motion of purely free-falling test masses housed in three Sun-... Read More
Photograph of two women and one man in a testing lab with computers and hardware on the desks
Earth
Aug 31, 2021
A team at NASA’s Langley Research Center is developing a new state-of-the-art sensor and satellite platform to enable continued monitoring of Earth’s radiant energy system. The small, lightweight sensor will provide higher resolution data, and will allow us to learn more about important Earth... Read More
Satellite map image of the earth showing solar radiation in green
Solar System
Aug 16, 2021
Icy worlds like Jupiter’s moon Europa are prime targets of study to achieve one of NASA’s longstanding goals – to determine whether or not we are alone in the universe.
Artist illustration of Europa, Jupiter's moon, a blue image indicating the icy surface glow.
Universe
Aug 3, 2021
Advanced technology micro-shutters enable NASA to study galaxy evolution across cosmic time.
Two scientists wearing white lab jumpers in a lab; the male on the left is wearing blue rubber gloves and holding an array prototype that looks like a small grid.
Space Experiments
Jul 20, 2021
Loss of muscle mass and strength in astronauts remains an issue for space exploration. A NASA-funded research team has developed a new device called the NemaFlex chip to measure muscle strength over multiple generations of worms born and raised on the International Space Station (ISS).
Group photo of 6 research scientists in blue and white lab gear holding lab equipment.
Sun
Jul 6, 2021
A NASA-sponsored team is rediscovering and improving lost techniques to develop high-fidelity instruments needed to make the magnetic field measurements that enable many of the nation’s space science and space weather missions.
Photo of three men in a lab wearing dark lab jackets and face masks; one man is standing and pointing at the equipment while looking at the other two seated men.
Earth
Jun 22, 2021
A NASA-sponsored team is developing machine-learning software to forecast air pollution events in Los Angeles.
Photo of a hazy sunrise behind the LA landscape.
Universe
May 18, 2021
“Are we alone in the universe?” may be one of the most compelling questions of our generation.  Direct imaging of planetary systems around other stars to detect and characterize Earth-like planets that could sustain life requires telescopes that are larger and more stable than any previous... Read More
Photo of large mirror being assembled in a NASA facility.
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