NASA SBIR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-1 S5.02-8626
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Sample Collection, Processing, and Handling
PROPOSAL TITLE: Sealed Planetary Return Canister (SPRC)

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Techno Planet Incorporated
17340 Rayen St.
Northridge, CA 91325 - 2936
(818) 709-7815

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Scott Stanley
17340 Rayen St.
Northridge, CA 91325 - 2936
(818) 709-7815

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Sample return missions have primary importance in future planetary missions. A basic requirement is that samples be returned in pristine, uncontaminated condition, necessitating development of a canister system capable of maintaining cleanliness and seal integrity through a variety of environments. Such a canister system, the Sealed Planetary Return Canister (SPRC), is proposed. Besides providing a high integrity seal, the canister also incorporates features that for robotic manipulation and to allow the sample to be accessed in a controlled manner upon return to Earth. The SPRC seal system addresses the two most significant concerns for planetary samples – seal surfaces contaminated by the sample and high pressure due to the phase change of volatiles. The SPRC incorporates a novel sealing system evolved from the only marginally successful Apollo seal approach but with added features to address the difficulties and inconsistencies observed. The indium is contained within a protective barrier to prevent oxidation, and the knife edge is mechanically cleaned during the sealing process. The container body will be configured to accommodate a variety of samples including rock cores, rock fragments, regolith, dust, and frozen soil. Atmospheric samples can also be preserved. The design is readily scalable and adaptable to specific missions.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
A large number of potential NASA missions have been identified that would utilize the SPRC including sample return missions to Mars, the Moon, Titan, comets, asteroids, and Trojan/Centaurs. Each of these missions would require the canister described in this proposal or an adaptation thereof.

The SPRC could also find use for in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) prospecting. Samples would have to be acquired and analyzed for their volatile content in order to make detailed decisions on mining locations.

Additional science applications (through NASA or other government organizations such as the NSF) include terrestrial investigations requiring the securing of pristine samples, particularly those containing volatiles of interest - Arctic and Antarctic ice, untouched water reservoirs, volcanic samples etc. While containers are available commercially that can be filled and sealed by a human operator, these environments are not accessible to humans and require a robotic-compatible container.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Non-NASA applications potentially include gathering samples in hostile environments such as nuclear or hazardous waste sites. These require robotic interfaces to isolate human operators from the dangerous environment.

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.

In-situ Resource Utilization
Integrated Robotic Concepts and Systems
Sterilization/Pathogen and Microbial Control

Form Generated on 09-18-09 10:14