Technology Stories

Illustrated cross-section of technology demonstration convertors
Apr 16, 2018
NASA Glenn Research Center has been supporting the development of high-efficiency Stirling power convertors for potential use in Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) for over a decade. Stirling convertors are engines that convert heat into electricity by oscillating a linear alternator.
Universe
Apr 2, 2018
An X-ray telescope is characterized by four parameters: angular resolution, effective area, mass, and production cost. Researchers at NASA GSFC have developed a new X-ray mirror technology that is expected to improve one or more of these parameters by at least an order of magnitude, compared to the... Read More
Photo of mirror reflecting NASA logo
Mar 19, 2018
Radioisotope power systems provide the efficient, long-lasting power sources vital to the success of numerous NASA space missions. NASA SMD is sponsoring technology development efforts to improve Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) performance, both in terms of the thermal-to-electric... Read More
Thermoelectric testing data
Earth
Mar 5, 2018
A team at NASA GSFC is working to develop new technology that will enable small satellites to measure direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC) electric field vectors in space. One element of this new technology involves development of coilable, narrow, composite booms, which when deployed,... Read More
Photo of cubesat
Sun, Earth’s Space Environment
Feb 20, 2018
Global wind and temperature measurements in the lower thermosphere (100-150 km above Earth) are the two most important variables needed to accurately predict space weather and climate change. An innovative technique is being developed jointly by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics... Read More
space weather
Universe
Feb 12, 2018
NASA is part of an international team developing a cutting edge microcalorimeter X-ray camera that will provide extraordinarily detailed information about energetic cosmic phenomena.
Photo of hybrid array
Earth
Jan 25, 2018
This blog post originated in the 2016 Science Mission Directorate Technology Highlights Report (20 MB PDF).
Photo of B200 aircraft and pilots
Universe
Jan 8, 2018
X-ray-optics technology has progressed such that future astrophysics X-ray observatories will have orders-of magnitude better performance than existing observatories such as NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.
Photo of large-area CAT grating size compared to US quarter coin
Earth’s Space Environment
Dec 18, 2017
Researchers are developing new types of magnetometers for use on future small satellites that not only fulfill stringent requirements for low-amplitude and high-precision measurements, they are also enabling the team to develop a new approach to achieving highquality magnetic measurements from... Read More
Photo of magnetometer circuit next to penny for scale
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