NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 S1.09-9913
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In Situ Sensors and Sensor Systems for Planetary Science
PROPOSAL TITLE: Airborne Isotopic Hydrocarbon Analyzer for Titan

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Vista Photonics, Inc.
67 Condesa Road
Santa Fe, NM 87508 - 8136
(505) 466-3830

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jeffrey S. Pilgrim
67 Condesa Road
Santa Fe, NM 87508 - 8136
(505) 466-3953

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 4 to 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Trace species measurement on unmanned atmospheric research craft suitable for interplanetary travel is a demanding application for optical sensing techniques. Yet optical techniques offer many advantages including high-precision, fast response, and strong species selectivity. Balloonsonde, kite, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or glider deployment demands that optical sensors meet stringent size, weight and power requirements. Vista Photonics proposes to construct rugged, compact, low-power optical sensor prototypes capable of selectively determining isotopic-resolved hydrocarbons at Titan-relevant concentrations. The sensor will be demonstrated in Phase II by airborne measurement of CO2 and water vapor on Earth. The enabling technology for meeting stringent NASA mission requirements is a new rugged, compact, and lightweight optical path length enhancement cell that recovers the established sensitivity of high-performance optical absorption detection techniques on a platform with no moving parts. The proposed spectrometer will be capable of detecting multiple species with little additional weight or power penalties.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The immediate targeted application for NASA is trace atmospheric species monitoring on planetary exploration probes. Phase II prototypes will be capable of selectively detecting isotopic-resolved concentrations of acetylene, ethylene and methane. The prototypes will also be proven for airborne measurement of atmospheric species on Earth, including carbon dioxide and water vapor. Other species can be included as required. The integrated sensors will be suitable for low pressure environments like the Moon and Mars and in substantial atmospheres like Titan's. The emerging technology will also be suitable for use on both manned and unmanned terrestrial atmospheric research craft. Other applications include fire detection on aircraft and high-value installations, gas sensing in air revitalization and water recovery processes on spacecraft, and leak detection during spacecraft launch operations.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Phase III commercial applications abound for sensors whose performance and physical characteristics are suitable for spaceflight. Two specifically targeted applications are high-performance unmanned airborne detection of carbon dioxide/water vapor and carbon dioxide leak detection at power plant carbon capture & sequestration sites. Other examples include contaminant monitoring in process gas streams in the chemical and microelectronics industries, medical diagnosis through detection of biogenic gases in human breath that correlate to specific pathologies, and environmental monitoring and regulatory compliance in agriculture, power production, and occupational safety. The fully-developed Phase II instruments shall offer a compelling and desirable blend of performance, affordability, compactness, simplicity and ease-of-use relative to present commercial product offerings in these applications.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Air Revitalization and Conditioning
Biomedical and Life Support
In-situ Resource Utilization

Form Generated on 10-23-08 13:36