NASA STTR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-1 T8.03-9689
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Detection technologies for extant or extinct life for use on robotic missions
PROPOSAL TITLE: In-Situ Spectroscopic Europa Explorer (ISEE)

NAME: Honeybee Robotics, Ltd. NAME: SETI Institute Carl Sagan Center
STREET: Building 3, Suite 1005 63 Flushing Avenue Unit 150 STREET: 189 Bernardo Avenue
CITY: Brooklyn CITY: Montain View
STATE/ZIP: NY  11205 - 1070 STATE/ZIP: CA  94043 - 5203
PHONE: (212) 966-0661 PHONE: (650) 960-4521

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ph.D. Pablo Sobron
189 Bernardo Ave
Montain View, CA 94043 - 5203
(314) 695-6993

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr Kris Zacny
Building 3, Suite 1005 63 Flushing Avenue Unit 150
Brooklyn, NY 11205 - 1070
(510) 207-4555

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Detection technologies for extant or extinct life for use on robotic missions is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The US congress has instructed NASA to include a lander component in the next Europa mission. The mission has a target launch date of 2022, and its primary goal will be to search Europa?s icy surface for evidence of life that may persist within the ice shell or subsurface ocean. The Europa lander study specifically recommends a combination of a mass spectrometer and a Raman spectrometer to investigate Europa's habitability. Current flight prototypes, by design, existing planetary Raman instruments cannot detect organic compounds on Europa down to the required 1 ppb.

We propose to build and critically test the in-situ Spectroscopic Europa Explorer (iSEE), a next-generation prototype of a compact, arm-mounted Raman Spectrometer. iSEE utilizes an innovative combination of light source, adaptive spatial coding optics, and detector. It integrates a high-performance signal processor and data processing algorithms that enable unprecedented measurements: in-situ chemical identification and quantitation of complex organic compounds, including pre-biotic compounds; biomolecules; minerals; and volatiles. iSEE also provides sample context, including ice composition, crystallinity, and ice phase distribution. Our project is responsive to 'T8.03 Detection technologies for extant or extinct life for use on robotic missions.'

Our Phase I R&D will develop and integrate key subsystems of iSEE and evaluate its performance using standards and natural samples, particularly with respect to the detection of organic compounds and biomarkers. We will demonstrate the feasibility of iSEE to perform quantitative analysis of organic content, minerals, and volatiles at or < 1 ppb in solid matrices. The technical objectives of Phase I are: 1) Validate iSEE's optical path; 2) Build an iSEE breadboard system; 3) Determine performance parameters; 4) Demonstrate the capability to detect organic compounds and biomarkers in biologically lean natural samples.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Our innovation significantly improves instrument measurement capabilities for planetary science missions such as Discovery, New Frontiers, Mars Exploration, and other planetary programs. It has potential to become a critical new instrument in NASA's exploration toolbox that can replace already-flown in-situ sensing technologies in future mission opportunities.

The following missions highlighted by the Planetary Science Directorate (PSD) will specifically benefit from iSEE: a) landed exploration missions to Venus, Moon, Mars, Europa, Titan, comets, and asteroids; b) sample return missions to Moon, Mars, comets and asteroids. In addition, iSEE may be used to identify and map available planetary in-situ resources, and to spur the development of autonomous in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) devices for robotic and human missions.

iSEE will enable in-situ chemical classification and quantitation of complex organic compounds, minerals/ices, and volatiles. Therefore, iSEE will enable measurements responsive to three of the five science objectives of the SMD's PSD, as stated in the NASA Science Plan.

Specifically, iSEE will enable all three investigations required to understand the habitability of Europa?s ocean through composition and chemistry, the priority objective of the proposed Europa lander concept, as developed by a NASA-commissioned Science Definition Team

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
In Phase I we will focus on Europa exploration applications. However, iSEE responds to critical challenges at the scientific/engineering boundaries of highly sensitive in-situ sensing; in particular, the challenges involved of characterizing materials, qualitatively, quantitatively, in real-time, and non-destructively (i.e. without sampling). Thus, iSEE has high potential to impact the following areas with broad social and economic implications:

Health and environment monitoring, Forensic analyses, Ocean sensing, Oil & gas exploration and development.

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.)
Optical/Photonic (see also Photonics)
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)

Form Generated on 04-26-16 15:16