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Center Innovation Fund: JSC CIF

Exploration Technology Development including Surface Acoustic Wave RFID chips

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

This project is focused on maturing future surface exploration technologies and instrumentation and working towards flight instrumentation and systems to support future robotic exploration efforts. The main portion of this project advances a JSC remote sensing method employing passive wireless surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices integrated with a retro-reflector antenna and mounted on a penetrator probe. Placement of the penetrator probes into the surface layers of a small body would allow direct measurements of surface temperatures, temperatures at multiple points around the body of interest, surface and subsurface temperature measurements over multiple diurnal cycles, surface feature movement and precise relative navigation aid  

The small size and low weight of these battery-free SAW tags enable long-range, long duration remote temperature sensing instruments as well as a relative navigation waypoint network. This project can eventually provide a unique scientific instrument to be flown on multiple robotic probes. Additional exploration technologies will be identified and assessed for their applicability for future surface, small body and planetary exploration (e.g. Naval Research Lab miniature microbial fuel cell, modulating retrroeflector, X-band switchable radio/radar).  

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Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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Project Management

Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

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