NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 S1.11-9800
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In Situ Instruments/Technologies for Ocean Worlds Life Detection
PROPOSAL TITLE: Electro-Kinetic Ice Gun for Frozen Ice Plume Simulations

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Connecticut Analytical Corporation
696 Amity Road
Bethany, CT 06524 - 3006
(203) 393-9666

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Joseph J. Bango
696 Amity Road
Bethany, CT 06524 - 3006
(203) 393-9666 Extension :21

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Joseph J. Bango
696 Amity Road
Bethany, CT 06524 - 3006
(203) 393-9666 Extension :21

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
In Situ Instruments/Technologies for Ocean Worlds Life Detection 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)
This proposal evolved as a result of a conversation with a NASA scientist regarding plans for a mission to Europa to seek signs of life based on observed water plume emissions. With Jupiter as a bright light behind the moon, NASA was able to observe Europa in silhouette, and with ultraviolet light saw what appeared to be evidence of the plumes. If plumes exist, this is an exciting find, lead researcher William Sparks said. It means we may be able to explore that ocean, that ocean of Europa, and for organic chemicals, he added. It would allow us to search for signs of life without having to drill through miles of ice. The apparent plumes seem to be mostly around the south pole, Sparks said, although one appears farther north and may be a likelier candidate for a mission. "We presume it to be water vapor or ice particles because that's what Europa's made of, and those molecules do appear at the wavelengths we observed.
In preparation for such a mission, spacecraft will have to pass through dense clouds of ice particulates, which could damage vital instruments. Accordingly, NASA has indicated there is a need for simulating the production of ice in the size range of 50nm up through 2 microns. The NASA Ames Vertical Gun Range was designed to sent solid projectiles for studying the effects of meteorite impacts on celestial bodies and potential micro-meteoroid damage to spacecraft. At the far end of the barrel, a gunpowder explosion is used to compress hydrogen gas to as much as 1 million times atmospheric pressure. The compressed gas gets released and sent down the launch tube, firing a projectile pellet at speeds between 7,000 and 15,000 mph. No ice particulate could survive being subjected to such massive transitory input of kinetic energy. The Ames gun was not designed for accelerating ice projectiles, so a new technology is required. Here is proposed an electrospray ice plume generator, with electrostatic acceleration.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Europa is one of the most active bodies in the solar system: about the size of Earth's moon, and at its warmest only about -260F (-160C), and covered in an icy shell. But the moon also has rarer qualities: evidence of abundant liquid water, a rocky core that would have a range of chemicals, and energy generated by tidal heating the moon is tidally locked to Jupiter, with one face always toward the gas giant. Should the moon have water, energy and organic chemicals, it could have the basic building blocks that developed into life on Earth. For a long time humanity has been wondering whether there is life beyond Earth, NASA astrophysicist Paul Hertz said. "We're lucky enough to live in an era where we can address questions like that scientifically. We have a special interest in any place that might possess those characteristics. Europa might be such a place. The finding, NASA's Hertz continued, increases our confidence that water and other materials in Europa's ocean, Europa's hidden ocean, might be available for us to study without us landing and digging on those unknown miles of ice". In order for NASA to probe water plumes that produce ice particulates, a source for creating such high speed particles is required to see whether a spacecraft will survive passing through a plume, and to test the sampling technologies for these plumes. The proposed technology offers a means to create a bolt-on "ice-gun" source for NASA-JPL or NASA-Ames.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Non-NASA applications might include semiconductor cleaning or other high vacuum particulate ablation methods.

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)
Analytical Methods
Biological Signature (i.e., Signs Of Life)
Lifetime Testing
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE; NDT)

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:59