NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 S1.11-9590
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Lunar Science Instruments and Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: Pneumatic Proboscis Heat Flow Probe

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 W 34th St
New York, NY 10001 - 2320
(510) 207-4555

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The heat flow probe directly answers requirements in the topic: S1.11 Lunar Science Instruments and Technology: "Geophysical Measurements: Systems, subsystems, and components for heat flow sensorsÂ…"
The primary objective of the Phase I/II is to develop TRL6, robust, low-power and low-mass instrument for geothermal heat flow measurement for small robotic lunar landers.
A key challenge is to install thermal sensors to the depths > ~3 m, below the fluctuations of the surface thermal environment, with little thermal disturbance to the regolith.
The proposed system is novel in two respects: 1) it utilizes a pneumatic (gas) approach, excavates a hole by lofting the lunar soil out of the hole, and 2) deploys the heat flow probe, which utilizes a coiled up tape with 10 equally spaced RTDs and a cone with thermal needle (for conductivity measurement) to reach >3 meter depth. The system is a game-changer for small lunar landers; it exhibits extremely low mass, volume, and simple deployment.
The pneumatic system takes advantage of the Helium gas used for pressurizing lander propellant. In vacuum experiments we found that 1g of gas at 5 psia could loft ~6000g of lunar soil simulant at >10m/s.

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 precursor lunar landers 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, Asteroids, Mars, and other planetary bodies. In addition, the instrument may be used by astronauts on Sortie human lunar missions.

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. 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 indefinitely. 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

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Analytical Instruments (Solid, Liquid, Gas, Plasma, Energy; see also Sensors)

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12