Technology Stories

Photo of magnetometer sensor comparable in size to a penny
Solar System
Jun 17, 2019
This blog post originated in the 2017 Science Mission Directorate Technology Highlights Report (33 MB PDF).
Earth
Jun 5, 2019
This blog post originated in the 2017 Science Mission Directorate Technology Highlights Report (33 MB PDF).
Photo of SoilSCAPE base station in a field in Alaska
Sun
Apr 16, 2019
Earth’s ionosphere is increasingly recognized as a region of space that directly impacts the development and use of space assets for modern society. Monitoring the state of the ionosphere requires space-based instrumentation and preferably a fleet of spacecraft with identical instrumentation. 
3D rendering of Dual VUV Photomultiplier tubes
Solar System
Mar 18, 2019
Aerocapture technologies have the potential to enable orbital missions to the outer planets and their satellites by the judicious use of aerodynamic forces in a planetary atmosphere. 
Image of Saturn's moon Titan
Universe, Exoplanets
Feb 4, 2019
This blog post originated in the 2017 Science Mission Directorate Technology Highlights Report (33 MB PDF).
Artist’s rendition of a starshade blocking starlight from a nearby planetary system
Earth
Dec 17, 2018
A NASA-funded team has been exploring the use of quantum annealing computers for a scientifically meaningful application—to estimate the net annual ecosystem carbon flux over land using satellite data. Carbon flux is the exchange process of carbon dioxide (CO2) that takes place between growing or... Read More
Nov 26, 2018
A team of scientists and engineers at Goddard Space Flight Center is developing innovative technologies to expand the opportunities for neutron and gamma-ray detection from space on small satellite platforms.
Photo of large-area arrays and carrier board
Nov 13, 2018
Europa is one of 53 confirmed moons orbiting Jupiter. While slightly smaller than Earth’s moon, Europa primarily consists of silicate rock and is intriguing in that its crust consists of frozen water. Future missions under consideration to Europa would be enhanced by the ability to penetrate the... Read More
Conceptual design for ARCHIMEDES on Juptier's moon Europa
Universe
Oct 31, 2018
Relic radiation from the Big Bang—the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB)—provides a Rosetta stone for deciphering the content, structure, and evolution of the early universe. Current theoretical understanding suggests that the universe underwent a rapid exponential expansion, called “inflation,” in... Read More
Photo of CLASS telescope
Oct 16, 2018
Chorus waves are a class of frequency-chirping, whistler-mode plasma waves that are routinely observed in Earth’s near-space environment. Chorus waves play a key role in various physical processes including the formation of the Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts, the pulsating aurora, and the... Read More
Illustration of Van Allen Radiation Belts surrounding earth
Universe
Sep 18, 2018
NASA is developing a new type of detector that will provide insight into the formation and structure of the universe. Many of the radiative and mechanical interactions that shape the interstellar medium of galaxies and drive galactic evolution (e.g., shock waves from stellar winds and jets,... Read More
The figure above shows: (a) an array of 3rd-order DFB lasers gold wire bonded to an electronic chip, (b) a photo of a fabricated array of DFB triplets, (c) scanning electron microscope image of a DFB device showing three periods, and (d) a schematic of a triplet with the corresponding radiation profile.
Earth
Aug 27, 2018
An SMD-sponsored project successfully designed, fabricated, and tested a new application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) intended to enable high-quality radio occultation (RO) weather observations using signals from the Global Navigation System Satellite (GNSS) constellations. RO measurements... Read More
Photo of large circuit board
Aug 13, 2018
Precise polarization measurements of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation, an ancient glow from the early universe, may help scientists better understand how the universe rapidly expanded in a burst called “inflation” moments after the Big Bang. 
Photo of detector antenna and superconducting arrays
Solar System
Jul 30, 2018
Over the past four years, NASA’s Heatshield for Extreme Entry Environment Technology (HEEET) Project has been maturing a novel, three-dimensional, woven Thermal Protection System (TPS) technology for science missions recommended in the Planetary Science Decadal Survey. These missions—Venus probes... Read More
Photo of HEEET model arojet testing
Universe, Exoplanets
Jul 16, 2018
A team of NASA optics experts has built a picometer spatial metrology system that may enable a major Agency initiative—to locate and image Earth-like planets beyond the solar system and scrutinize their atmospheres for signs of life. Researchers at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), in conjunction... Read More
Artist rendition of an exoplanet