NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 S1.08-9542
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In Situ Airborne, Surface, and Submersible Instruments for Earth Science
PROPOSAL TITLE: Self-Calibrating Greenhouse Gas Balloon-Borne Sensor

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Southwest Sciences, Inc.
1570 Pacheco Street, Suite E-11
Santa Fe, NM 87505 - 3993
(505) 984-1322

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Joel A Silver
1570 Pacheco Street, Suite E-11
Santa Fe, NM 87505 - 3993
(505) 984-1322

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 3 to 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Over the past decade, the importance of understanding the sources and sinks of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases has been recognized. In particular, airborne measurements of CO2 profiles throughout the troposphere and lower stratosphere have provided a great deal of useful information, but the instrumentation used has been restricted to airplane or large stratospheric-type balloon gondola platforms due to the size, weight and power requirements of these instruments. While a more widespread measurement campaign using smaller, less expensive balloon sondes could provide very important data, such an approach has been limited by the lack of suitable instrumentation.

In this SBIR program, Southwest Sciences proposes to developed a lightweight, inexpensive greenhouse gas sensor suitable for balloon sonde measurements, yet exhibiting specifications that approach those of the much larger and expensive research instruments used on current airborne platforms. Using a novel ratiometric measurement technique, this sensor will provide dry air mixing ratios of CO2 without the need for concurrent measurements of temperature, pressure or moisture.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed self-calibrating greenhouse gas sensor will be designed for NASA for use on UAV, balloon, and aircraft platforms. One of the goals of NASA's Office of Science is to use satellite data and suborbital platforms to understand weather and climate of the Earth, both in the present and in the future. Suborbital field campaigns composed of balloons, aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles are used to identify processes, validate satellite data, and eventually create parameterizations that allow full use of satellite data. Measurements of the precise variations of carbon dioxide as a function of altitude have been tremendously difficult in the atmosphere, and this sensor will more widespread measurements than currently possible using only large expensive airplane or gondola platforms.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The initial market for the self-calibrating greenhouse gas sensor would be the international atmospheric research community. Research groups that are involved in field campaigns from university, government, and private laboratories would be the customers. Beyond the atmospheric science community, high precision gas measurements are needed in industrial applications. The proposed method will allow for non-intrusive measurements of fluids in fast flows of pipelines, chambers, and smokestacks. Non-intrusive measurements are critically needed when caustic gases are used or when an integrated measurement is needed without disturbing laminar flow. Applications include the petrochemical, semiconductor, and aviation sectors.

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.


Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56