The Autonomous Systems (AS) Project is focused on demonstrating autonomy, diagnostics, prognostics, and mission control technologies on mission-relevant test beds.
A conformal TPS over a rigid aeroshell has the potential to solve a number of challenges faced by traditional rigid (low strain-to-failure) TPS materials. The compliant (high strain to failure) nature of the conformal ablative materials will allow easier integration of the TPS with the underlying aeroshell structure and enable monolithic-like configuration and larger segments (or parts) to be used
The Human Robotic Systems (HRS) Project includes research and development of Human Robotic Systems technologies to advance human and robotic exploration. HRS addresses themes of Mobility, Manipulation, and Human-Robotic Interaction.
The OCT/GCD/ISRU Project at Ames involves the design and development of two engineering test units to support the in situ resource utilization prospecting mission on the Moon. The two instruments are a neutron spectrometer, used to detect subsurface ice, and a near-infrared spectrometer that reveals the presence of surficial deposits of volatile species. This is a sub-project of the larger RESOLVE ISRU project, involving ARC, KSC, JSC and GRC, in which an integrated payload/instrument/control
LightForce is a novel way of preventing collisions in orbit using photon pressure alone, applied from a ground-based laser. By “nudging” debris out of the way of a collision, it could slow or prevent the orbital debris cascade taking place in LEO and provide protection for satellites that lack on-board propulsion.
The Lightweight Materials & Structures (LMS) project has two sub-elements: Analytical Modeling and Damage Tolerance, and Inflatable Structures.
The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Entry Descent & Landing Instrumentation (MEDLI) will collect engineering data during the spacecraft's high-speed, extremely hot entry into the Martian atmosphere.
The Forward Osmosis Secondary Treatment (FOST) subsystem will be designed to treat the effluent of the primary treatment biological system. The FOST subsystem will be designed to remove suspended and dissolved solids in the processed wastewater effluent from the bioreactor.
Carbon nanotubes and graphene-based sensors have been developed for strain, temperature and damage detection. These sensors have potential for use as minimally invasive, low power systems for integrated health monitoring and damage detection in composite structures.
Ride the Light comprises two projects: Millimeter-wave Thermal Launch System and LightForce
The Space Synthetic Biology project is developing robust, biological tools and technologies to sustain human activities on Earth and across the solar system for the benefit of exploration, science and the economy.
The Woven Thermal Protection System (WTPS) project explores an innovative way to design, develop and manufacture a family of ablative TPS materials using weaving technology and testing them in the arc jet to establish the viability of the concept of weaving TPS.