NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 S1.11-8488
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Lunar Science Instruments and Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: Novel Heat Flow Probe Design and Deployment

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Honeybee Robotics Ltd.
460 W 34th Street
New York, NY 10001 - 2320
(212) 966-0661

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Kris Zacny
460 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001 - 2320
(510) 207-4555

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
We propose to develop a novel method for deploying heat flow sensors/heaters in a hole and also a novel approach to subsurface access using a percussive method. The sensor deployment concept consists of a deployable string of thermal sensors/heaters initially housed inside a hollow probe. As envisioned, the deployable sensor string would consist of thermal sensors/heaters mounted to small spring-like structures of low thermal inertia fastened to a tether at appropriate intervals. The probe assembly is driven into the subsurface using a percussive (high frequency low impact) actuator. Upon reaching depth, the cone mounted at the end of the tube would separate from penetrometer and left behind as an anchor for the sensor string. The sensor string would then be deployed from the tube as the tube is retracted from the hole.
The proposed method offers many advantages including:
• Optimum thermal isolation between consecutive heat flow sensors (RTD`s)
• Thermal isolation between sensors and a lander platform/deployment system,
• Direct contact between the sensors and regolith,
• Percussive deployment method that does not rely extensively on lander mass
• All the electrical connectors will be established prior to the launch

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The heat flow probe deployment system directly answers the need for the International Lunar Network science requirements. Thus, once developed, the probe can be part of the ILN payload. In addition to measuring heat flow on the Moon, the probe can be deployed on the future Discovery- and New Frontier-class robotic missions to the moon, Mars, and other planetary bodies. In addition, the instrument may be used by astronauts on Sortie human lunar missions. The percussive penetrometer can be used to deploy other sensors, such as Neutron and Gamma spectrometers, Electrical Properties probe etc.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Non-NASA applications include measuring of heat flow in areas on earth, where optimal thermal isolation of heaters/temperature sensors is of paramount importance. These for example include areas with hydrocarbon potential. Therefore exploration companies, such as Shell or Chevron, would in particular be interested in this technology. Since these heat probes are small and can be made relatively cheaply, they can be left in earth forever. Thus, the heat flow data can be accumulated all the time. This in particular would be important for tracking global climate change and to understand the nature and causes of climate change. Thus, proposed heat flow deployment method, because of potential cost savings, may allow more heat flow probes being deployed around the earth. The possible 'customer' may for example be the International Heat Flow Commission of IASPEI, who initiated the project "Global Database of Borehole Temperatures and Climate Reconstructions".

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.

Integrated Robotic Concepts and Systems
Sensor Webs/Distributed Sensors

Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56