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Ames Technology Capabilities and Facilities

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Instrument Development
The Project Management & Engineering Directorate is responsible for developing scientific instruments for ground-based research, and airborne and space flight payloads.


instrument developmentThe research presented represents a technological advance in automated hyperspectral measurement, data collection and synthesis into real time spectral fingerprint of vegetation or measured geology. Such technology could be applied for ground truthing of surface geology on other planets. Many of these instruments support a variety of earth science research and are used to ground truth satellite imagery. One such example is the development a fully automated, field deployable, Goniometer capable of collecting hyperspectral fingerprints of geology and vegetation.

Image right: The Sandmeier Field Goniometer; A measurement Tool fo Bi-directional reflectance.

Recent activities at the Remote Sensing Program at Stennis Space Center have identified the need to properly verify and validate data provided by the remote sensing community. One important variable, which effects remote sensing data is bi-directional reflectance distribution (BRDF). In order to quantify the effects of BRDF on man-made and natural ground targets, the Stennis Verification &Validation team commissioned the Systems Engineering Division at NASA Ames Research Center to develop a Field Goniometer for use at the Stennis Space Center’s Large Target Range and for various ground truthing missions.

The Swiss Field Goniometer (FIGOS) was used as a benchmark instrument to design a new state of the art Field Goniometer called the Sandmeier Field Goniometer (SGF), named after Stefan Sandmeier who developed FIGOS.

After establishing requirements for the SFG, design efforts began in early May 1998. The design of the SFG was completed in September 1998. Manufacturing, construction, and testing was completed in May 1999. The SFG was shipped to NASA SSC and wasfully operational by June 1999.

This system received the prestigious 2001 SolidWorks World Award for design innovation.