Miniaturized In Situ Atmospheric Probe Sampling Inlet System for Uranus or Saturn

Award Information
Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$125,000.00
Award Year:
2013
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
NNX13CP23P
Award Id:
n/a
Agency Tracking Number:
124288
Solicitation Year:
2012
Solicitation Topic Code:
S1.07
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
CA, Santa Barbara, CA, 93111-1406
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
012175837
Principal Investigator:
Paul Holland
Principal Investigator
(805) 308-1937
pholland@thorleaf.com
Business Contact:
Paul Holland
Business Official
(805) 308-1937
pholland@thorleaf.com
Research Institution:
Stub




Abstract
Thorleaf Research, Inc. proposes to develop a miniaturized in situ atmospheric probe sampling inlet system for measuring chemical and isotopic composition of the atmospheres of the giant planets, with special emphasis on NASA needs for missions to Uranus and Saturn. Our innovative design will provide a constant flow rate of sample to the inlet of a mass spectrometer (MS) in spite of more than a hundred-fold variation in external atmospheric pressure, allowing the detection sensitivity of the MS to be optimized over the full descent profile of the atmospheric probe, unlike previous sampling systems that depended on fixed leaks. This addresses a key technology gap for planetary studies, mainly how to acquire and prepare samples for in situ analysis while meeting challenging mass, volume and power constraints. Based on our analysis, we project a system mass on the order of 0.5 kg and an average power consumption of<0.5 watt, depending on materials and the configuration selected. The goal of our proposed SBIR Phase I effort is to demonstrate feasibility for a miniaturized in situ atmospheric probe sampling inlet system for Uranus and Saturn, and to develop a detailed design for fabricating prototype instrumentation in Phase II.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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