The NASA market for self-sensing tethers is focused on missions featuring robotic exploration, especially using the Axel rover. NASA is planning specific missions including Mid-Size Rovers, Astrobiology Field Lab, Network Landers, Europa Explorer, and Titan-Enceladus Explorer to bring back samples from comets, asteroids, and the lunar south polar basin, and Mars. Market opportunities for tethered rovers within NASA often coincide with Mars exploration missions that are launched every 26 months. Prime contractors supporting NASA's rover missions include Lockheed Martin Astronautics. Extending the range of the sensing technology will increase the scope of missions where these sensing tethers can be used. For example, missions to explore the large Martian craters that show evidence of liquid water through recurring slope lineae will require tether lengths of several hundreds of meters.
Sensing tether technology has particular application in robotics, where tethered robots range from search and rescue rovers to underwater vehicles, and from tethered military robots to energy sector inspection robots. This technology has the potential to transform tethers from a necessary but cumbersome umbilical cord into a dynamic sensor that can aid in monitoring the health and position of the robot. Extending the length of this technology will increase the types of robots where this technology can be applied. In addition to sensing tethers, extending the length of Luna's strain sensing technology will transfer to increased length for temperature sensing, curvature sensing, and full 3-D distributed position sensing, opening markets in NDE tool location, and path measurement markets. Extended length strain sensing will increase the market in aerospace distributed strain sensing to be applicable to larger aircraft.