Technology Stories

photo of planet Venus
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
Earth’s Space Environment
Mar 2, 2017
Technology Infused: NASA-sponsored technology has been employed to develop a state-of-the-art heat shield that will enable an important Heliophysics mission—the Solar Probe Plus (SPP). The newly developed carboncomposite heat shield will protect the spacecraft from the impacts from hypervelocity... Read More
Illustration of Solar Probe approaching orange and yellow sun
Solar System
Feb 17, 2017
Technology Development: NASA is sponsoring development of an alkali-metal Variable Conductance Heat Pipe (VCHP) to serve as a heat source backup cooling device for Stirling Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS). RPS are critical to planetary missions because they produce electricity and heat for long... Read More
technical diagram
Universe
Feb 3, 2017
Technology Development: The NASA Glenn Research Center is developing the next generation of Stirling Radioisotope Generators (SRGs) to power deep space science missions. One potential technology gap is the waste heat rejection approach for higher power Stirling convertors. The previous 140W... Read More
Photo of radial core heat spreader
Earth
Jan 27, 2017
Technology Development: Nearly two decades of NASA technology investment in lidar systems and two-micron transmitters has resulted in a new capability for remotely measuring the carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in Earth’s atmosphere. NASA has developed an Integrated Path Differential Absorption (IPDA)... Read More
Photo of the IPDA lidar system installed onboard a NASA aircraft
Planets of Our Solar System
Jan 19, 2017
SMD is supporting development of a deep-drill sampler called the Auto-Gopher for potential deployment in future space exploration missions.
Illustration of the Auto-gopher 1 performing a deep drill
Earth
Jan 13, 2017
The GEO-CAPE ROIC In- Flight Performance Experiment (GRIFEX) CubeSat was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Saturday, January 31, 2015, as an auxiliary payload to the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission.
Illustration of a rectangular satellite in orbit
Planets of Our Solar System
Jan 5, 2017
Technology Development: When the Galileo mission’s probe entered the Jovian atmosphere in December 1995, it experienced temperatures twice as hot as the surface of the sun, and required carbon phenolic shields to protect its onboard payload from the intense heat. Since that mission, NASA has not... Read More
Testing of HEEET material at the NASA Ames Arc Jet Complex in the Interaction Heating Facility.
Earth
Nov 18, 2016
Technology Development: The Multi-Slit Optimized Spectrometer (MOS) prototype instrument is an airborne sensor designed to demonstrate and validate the multislit concept for hyperspectral ocean color retrievals with real-world scenes. The instrument design represents a new option for hyperspectral... Read More
photograph of MOS instrument
Sun
Nov 9, 2016
Technology Development: Remote sensing of magnetic fields requires both precision spectroscopy and precision polarimetry (spectro-polarimetry). NASA led an international team that developed the Chromospheric Lyman-Alpha Spectropolarimeter (CLASP)—the first instrument to achieve the spectro-... Read More
Photo of team standing next to sounding rocket
Universe
Nov 9, 2016
Technology Development: The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is the highest-ranked recommendation for a large space mission in the NRC 2010 decadal survey, New Worlds, New Horizons (NWNH) in Astronomy and Astrophysics. The WFIRST coronagraph instrument (CGI) will be the first high-... Read More
coronagraph imaging
Earth’s Space Environment
Aug 25, 2016
Image of magnetic loops (flux ropes) on the sun, captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
Image of colorful loops shooting out of the sun.
Exoplanets
Aug 25, 2016
Technology Development: Currently, astronomers can investigate Earth-sized exoplanets using only indirect methods such as detecting the changes in starlight as a planet passes in front of its star. The starshade (also known as an external occulter) is a spacecraft that will enable telescopes in... Read More
Illustration of deployed spacecraft and telescope in space
Ice
Aug 24, 2016
Technology Development: The Wideband (8-40 GHz) Instrument for Snow Measurement (WISM) is designed to accurately measure snowpack on the ground from an airborne platform. WISM is comprised of a dual-frequency (X- and Ku-bands) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and a dual-frequency (K- and Ka-bands)... Read More
Photograph of small airplane on tarmac with mountains in the background.
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