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In Situ Particles and Fields and Remote-Sensing Enabling Technologies for Heliophysics Instruments

Description:

Scope Title:

Enabling Technologies for Remote-Sensing Heliophysics Instruments

Scope Description:

Remote-sensing technologies are being sought to achieve much higher resolution and sensitivity with significant improvements over existing capabilities. Remote-sensing technologies amenable to CubeSats and SmallSats are also encouraged. Specifically, this subtopic solicits instrument development that provides significant advances in the following areas:

 

Auroral, Airglow, and Geospace Instrumentation:

  • Technologies or components enabling auroral, airglow, and geospacer at far and extreme ultraviolet (FUV/EUV) and soft x-ray wavelengths.
    • Technologies to reduce size, weight, and power beyond the current state of the art.
    • Technologies to reject background beyond the current state of the art.
    • Technologies to improve live time, spatial resolution, or spectral resolution beyond the current state of the art.
  • Technologies for precise radiometry at terahertz bands corresponding to upper atmosphere thermal emissions in the 1 to 5 THz range, particularly at 4.7 THz. This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Technologies that reduce size, mass, and power of terahertz radiometry instrumentation; for example, by increasing the operating temperature of terahertz detectors.
    • Technologies that enable terahertz spectroscopy; for example, by use of a terahertz local oscillator for heterodyne mixing.
    • Technologies that improve signal-to-noise ratio of terahertz instrumentation, particularly at 4.7 THz.

 

Ionosphere and Magnetosphere Instrumentation:

  • Passive sensing of ionospheric and magnetospheric plasma density structure using transmitters of opportunity (e.g., global navigation satellite system (GNSS) or ground-based transmissions).
  • Electromagnetic sounding of ionospheric or magnetospheric plasma density structure at radio-frequencies from kilohertz to >10 MHz.
    • Solar x-ray, ultraviolet, and visible light instrumentation.
  • Technologies or components that advance capabilities for solar imaging at far and extreme ultraviolet (FUV/EUV) and soft x-ray wavelengths.
    • Technologies to reduce size, weight, and power beyond the current state of the art.
    • Technologies to improve background rejection beyond the current state of the art.
    • Technologies to improve live time, spatial resolution, or spectral resolution beyond the current state of the art.
  • Technologies that enable observations of bright solar flares without saturation in wavelength range from EUV to x-rays. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Fast-cadence solid-state detectors (e.g., charge-coupled device (CCD) and complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS)) for imaging in the EUV with or without intrinsic ion suppression.
    • Fast-cadence solid-state detectors for imaging soft or hard x-ray (~0.1 to hundreds of kiloelectron volts) imaging, .preferably with the ability to detect the energy of individual photons.
    • Technologies that attenuate solar x-ray fluences by flattening the observed spectrum by a factor of 100 to 1,000 across the energy range encompassing both low- and high-energy x-rays—preferably flight programmable.
  • Technologies to either reduce the size, complexity, or mass or to improve the imaging resolution of solar telescopes used for imaging solar x-rays in the ~1 to 300 keV range.
    • Technologies capable of smoothly laminating silicon micropore optics with materials that enhance the grazing incidence reflectivity of soft x-rays in the energy range of 0.1 to 2 keV.
  • Technologies to reduce the size, complexity, mass, or power of solar coronagraphs to enable better inclusion on extra-Sun-Earth-line missions (e.g., L4, L5, high solar inclination, solar farside, etc.). For example, extendable high, precision booms that include occulters and baffles.
  • Technologies, including metamaterials and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) that enable polarization, wavelength, or spatial discrimination without macroscale moving parts.

 

Proposers are strongly encouraged to relate their proposed development to NASA's future heliophysics goals as set out in the Heliophysics Decadal Survey (2013-2022) and the NASA Heliophysics Roadmap (2014-2033). Proposed instrument components and/or architectures should be as simple, reliable, and low risk as possible, while enabling compelling science. Novel instrument concepts are encouraged, particularly if they enable a new class of scientific discovery. Technology developments relevant to multiple environments and platforms are also desired. Proposers should show an understanding of relevant space science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program. Detector technology proposals should be referred to the S12.06 subtopic.

Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5

Primary Technology Taxonomy:

  • Level 1 08 Sensors and Instruments
  • Level 2 08.1 Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors

Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

  • Prototype
  • Hardware

Desired Deliverables Description:

Phase I deliverables may include an analysis or test report, a prototype of an instrument subcomponent, or a full working instrument prototype.
Phase II deliverables must include a prototype or demonstration of a working instrument or subcomponent and may also include analysis or test reports.

State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

These instruments and technologies play indispensable roles for NASA’s Living With a Star (LWS) and Solar Terrestrial Probe (STP) mission programs as well as a host of smaller spacecraft in the Explorers Program. In addition, there is growing demand for remote-sensing technologies amenable to CubeSats and SmallSats. To narrow the critical gaps between the current state of art and the technology needed for the ever-increasing science/exploration requirements, remote-sensing technologies are being sought to achieve much higher resolution and sensitivity with significant improvements over existing capabilities—and at the same time with lower mass, power, and volume.

Relevance / Science Traceability:

Remote-sensing instruments and technologies are essential bases to achieve SMD's Heliophysics goals summarized in National Research Council’s, Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. These instruments and technologies play indispensable roles for NASA’s LWS and STP mission programs, as well as for a host of smaller spacecraft in the Explorers Program. In addition, there is growing demand for remote-sensing technologies amenable to CubeSats and SmallSats.

References:

Scope Title:

Enabling Technologies for In Situ Particle and Fields Heliophysics Instruments

Scope Description:

In situ technologies for particles and fields instruments are being sought to achieve improved performance over existing capabilities that are amenable to CubeSats and SmallSats. Specifically, this subtopic solicits instrument development that provides significant advances in the following areas:

  • Technologies for the development of high-voltage control elements (e.g., optocouplers or transistors) for use with high-voltage power supplies to linearly apply a specified high voltage to an electrode. These components need to be highly reliable; radiation hardened (100 krad TID); stable over wide temperature ranges (-35 ºC to >70 ºC); and capable of operating at voltages of >6 kV with >100 mA continuous current, >1 A pulse current, and low leakage current (<<100 nA).
  • Technologies for the development of magnetic core material suitable for incorporation into science-grade flux-gate magnetometers that can achieve reliable 0.1 nT resolutions and 100 Hz sampling.
  • Technologies for the development of compactly stowed, lightweight, long, straight, and rigid booms that can deploy a sensor with embedded electronics to distances of 6 m or longer on satellites and sounding rockets in order to measure DC electric fields (down to 0.1 mV/m) and plasma waves. Mass target: 2 kg or less.

 

Proposers are strongly encouraged to relate their proposed development to NASA's future heliophysics goals as set out in the Heliophysics Decadal Survey (2013-2022) and the NASA Heliophysics Roadmap (2014-2033). Proposed instrument components and/or architectures should be as simple, reliable, and low risk as possible, while enabling compelling science. Novel instrument concepts are encouraged, particularly if they enable a new class of scientific discovery. Technology developments relevant to multiple environments and platforms are also desired. Proposers should show an understanding of relevant space science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.

Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5

Primary Technology Taxonomy:

  • Level 1 08 Sensors and Instruments
  • Level 2 08.3 In-Situ Instruments/Sensor

Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

  • Prototype
  • Hardware

Desired Deliverables Description:

Phase I deliverables: Concept study report, preliminary design, and test results.
Phase II deliverables: Detailed design, prototype test results, and a prototype deliverable with guidelines for in-house integration and test (I&T).

State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

Most charged-particle instruments have the need to apply high-voltage to electrodes or grids in order to select the energy-per-charge of ions and electrons in space. The availability of high-voltage optocouplers (HVOCs) suitable for spaceflight are severely limited, and the number of reliable vendors since the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly decreased. MOSFET high-voltage technology (SiC) is currently limited to stand-off distances of a few kilovolts but may present an alternative solution to HVOCs in stepping circuits.

Suitable magnetic core material for incorporation into science-grade flux-gate magnetometers has become extremely limited. New vendors of core materials are critical for the continuation of high-quality magnetic field measurements.

The ability to deploy electric field sensors on CubeSat or SmallSats is limited, yet is of critical need for the ever-increasing number of Heliophysics constellation missions.

Relevance / Science Traceability:

Particle and field instruments and technologies are essential bases to achieve the Science Mission Directorate's (SMD's) Heliophysics goals summarized in the National Research Council’s, Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. In situ instruments and technologies play indispensable roles for NASA’s LWS and STP mission programs, as well as a host of smaller spacecraft in the Explorers Program. In addition, there is growing demand for particle and field technologies amenable to CubeSats and SmallSats. NASA SMD has two excellent programs to bring these subtopic technologies to higher level: Heliophysics Instrument Development for Science (H-TIDeS) and Heliophysics Flight Opportunities for Research and Technology (H-FORT). H-TIDeS seeks to advance the development of technologies and their application to enable investigation of key heliophysics science questions and space weather. This is done through incubating innovative concepts and development of prototype technologies. It is intended that Phase II and III technologies, further developed through H-TIDeS, would then be proposed to H-FORT to mature by demonstration in a relevant environment. The H-TIDeS and H-FORT programs are in addition to Phase III opportunities. Further opportunities through SMD include Explorer Missions, Discovery Missions, and New Frontiers Missions.

References:

  • National Research Council: "Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society," http://nap.edu/13060
  • Example missions (e.g., NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission, Fast Plasma Investigation; Solar Probe; STEREO; and Geospace Dynamics Constellation): http://science.nasa.gov/missions

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