NASA and Aerosol Jet Printing

Through the years, there have been many different styles of printing, from newspapers on paper presses to photo printing and art design. With these techniques, the amount of ease using them continues to evolve. Aerosol jet printing is a method that allows contactless direct printing for mass manufacturing that uses inkjet technology to put materials on substrates. It is the process of coding a base material used as a foundation for the object or image being printed on material. This process would also aim to significantly reduce printing time and manufacturing costs for companies. Aerosol jet printing can allow fine detail printing of 10 µm for high resolution printing onto different types of hardware and electronics.

The technique is also being used recently by NASA with a combination of 3-D printing that can print electronics such as transistors, conductors, and even cell phone cases. NASA is using it to create motherboards with digital to analog converter chips. If successful, NASA could later use it to mass-produce and print hardware for their many spacecraft.

Non-particle ink such as silver ink would allow extraction of silver non-particles from 10 to 100 µm of extraction. The type of non-particle can also be determined by the metal material used, such as titanium, aluminum, alloy, steel, and more. The difference between inkjet printing and aerosol printing is that aerosol allows 2 to 4 times higher resolution than inkjet, print resolution, and ink viscosity. Aerosol also has a clone-resistant nozzle; inkjet does not; aerosol is more tightly focused on its direction when printing, whereas inkjet is random directionality. Inkjet is a single drop; aerosol can be continuous.

Lenox Laser was able to use our cutting-edge processes in laser drilling flow restrictive orifices to assist in these technological advancements in the field. The full potential of aerosol printing has yet to be realized. However, we at Lenox Laser very helpful for the future and happy to be a part of it.

If you would like to read more about this piece of news, click here for an article from 3DPrintingIndustry and here for an article from ResearchGate.

James Webb Telescope Mirror Packing Update

               The James Webb Space Telescope has taken many years to get to where it is today. It survived complete cancellation in November 2011, infrared systems installation, and other instrument installs in 2012 through 2014. Despite a delay last year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the project is still managing to gain momentum toward the finish line. The James Webb Space Telescope is continuing towards its Halloween 2021 launch by hitting the milestone of having its massive protective sunshield folded and packed up to journey into space.

               The telescopes mammoth sunshield will protect the telescopes many optics from the immense heat and light of the sun. Folding the mirrors took one month to complete; they fold up on two sides of the telescope when not in use. The sunshield is about the size of a tennis court when fully deployed and is made up of 18 individual mirrors composed of five layers. Its entire span measures an estimated 70′ x 47′ with a cost of almost $10 billion. Since this telescope has infrared to detect and read heat signatures, the mirrors must be kept extremely cold. Once in space, one side of the mirror will reflect the heat and light from the Earth, Sun, and the Moon, which studies show to be approximately 230°F on the outermost layers. NASA worked with Northrop Grumman to build James Webb into a reality.

               We, at Lenox Laser, designed and provided alignment targets for the infrared systems on James Webb, for which we are most grateful for the opportunity. If you would like to know more about Lenox Laser’s work for the James Webb telescope, click here. If you would like to read more about the latest development on the telescope, click here for an article by phys.org.

Using AI-powered Speakers to Monitor Heart Health

               Artificial intelligence has given the world many advantages over the years, from space travel to smart cars. Its next breakthrough is one of the biggest yet, the human heart. Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a new way to determine health issues with the heart and an utterly contactless manner. The current prototype built by academics at the university would use intelligent speakers to detect heart arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats and high blood pressure. It would be able to do it with almost the same accuracy as devices used in today’s hospitals. The studies and prototypes use things like Amazon Alexa devices, Google Home pods, and smart speakers usually used for music.

               The way the technology works is, the patient would sit a few feet in front of the speaker. Depending on how the pitch and resonance of the sound coming back from the speaker changes, the doctor can determine what the heart issue may be to proceed with the treatment as needed. It would also be able to detect breathing patterns as well. If this works, the National Institute of Health (NIH) would undoubtedly take notice. With this exciting innovation, doctors hope that the new technology will help quickly diagnose patients for years to come even further than the heart, possibly even the brain.

               These recent innovations in medical devices like the one Lenox Laser worked with the NIH in a study about protein sampling and delivery into the brain could help doctors prevent and treat diseases. To all those involved with this new study prototype, Lenox Laser would like to send our best wishes for a profound positive outcome. If you would like to read more about the study, click here for an article from ScienceDaily.

The Moxie Box – NASA’s Oxygen Box

Courtesy of NASA

               About a month and a half ago, NASA’s Perseverance rover made landfall on Mars, bringing audio and video skimming across the planet’s surface. NASA sent the rover to Mars on a mission that ended in February this year to search for signs of life on the planet by collecting many different rock samples and broken rock and soil mixture called regolith. Mars is not the safest environment for human exploration. Its harsh atmosphere is a mix of molecular oxygen, carbon monoxide and dioxide argon, and molecular nitrogen.

Carrying several thousand pounds of oxygen for any mission on a rocket can be challenging. NASA created a box codenamed Moxie to take on the challenge. The Moxie box is almost no larger than a car battery. However, it allows explorers to explore the planet’s surface for longer because Moxie would convert Mars’s environment into breathable air for the astronauts. The Moxie box ways in total about 33 pounds and cost about $50 million to make.

               The Moxie box works by siphoning carbon dioxide; then, theoretically, it would split molecules electrochemically into oxygen and carbon monoxide. The Moxie box would mix in a tremendous amount of oxygen with the carbon monoxide. Scientists have plans of making more extensive versions of the Moxie box. At its current size, it should be able to produce about 10 grams of oxygen per hour. The box consumes 300 Watts of power.

               Once perfected, this box would be a game-changer for astronauts and planetary exploration. With the successful use of the box on board the Perseverance rover in February 2021, it is hoped that larger-scale devices can be launched possibly sometime in 2030 and beyond.

If you would like to read more, click here for an article by Popular Mechanics.

NASA and SpaceX International Space Station Agreement

The International Space Station (ISS) has a storied history. It took over 30 missions and thousands of person-hours to complete. It was clear that The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) would need a space station to study the vastness of space in minute detail in the space age. The ISS began its construction in 1998 when the first segment launching in a Russian proton rocket on November 20 of that year. NASA engineers completed the massive station’s main parts in 2011, and the station has been occupied by astronauts and scientists since 2000. The ISS now enters its Golden age with a new agreement between SpaceX and NASA. 

The agreement allows SpaceX and NASA to work on any project together for the space station. The Starlink program by SpaceX, which is now the largest existing on the orbiting spacecraft group, is also part of the agreement. SpaceX recently launched 60 additional satellites for their internet network on March 24. This agreement is important as it allows both parties to work smoothly and in unison.

NASA’s taxi ride program, which is still in development with SpaceX, will allow quick and easy transport to and from the ISS on shorter missions. If all goes to plan, this taxi ride program could launch sometime in 2022 with NASA’s approval. Should the taxi ride program be successful, companies would plan additional missions, up to two per year, lasting a month each. Boeing is also interested in partnering on this venture.

This agreement is a huge step forward in the history of space exploration. It will be exciting to see what can be achieved in the future of the ISS. It will also help strengthen and speed up communication between the two parties. SpaceX is an upcoming launch on April 22 for the Falcon 9 Crew 2 mission. We at Lenox Laser wish them all the best.

If you wish to read more, click here for an article by TechCrunch and here for an article by phys.org.

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