Circles containing crops are superimposed on squares containing dry, unplanted or fallow land.

SustainSat brings satellite approaches to Earth

SustainSat is a platform that can be used as either a prototype for CubeSats or as an Earth-based sensor and data-logging platform. It is intended as a low-cost, barebones way to learn about the general categories of technologies used in cubesats as well as to use those technologies for sustainability purposes on Earth.

SustainSat is built around the Arduino prototyping platform. It is different from ArduSat in that it is not specifically set up for use in space. SustainSat technology can be adapted for space, such as through ArduSat. However, SustainSat provides devices ready for use on Earth or on balloons and kites. It is perhaps the lowest-cost, simplest way to explore satellite technology in a sophisticated way, while empowering users to create and adapt real devices.

The simplest form of SustainSat is a simple light monitor, such as for sunlight, combined with an inertial unit. Such a device is similar to a real device that monitors solar luminosity, or a 1 pixel space telescope. It provides guidance data for potential reaction wheels or thrusters.

More sophisticated forms of SustainSat include wireless transmitting and data logging capabilities, as well as other sensors. A version of SustainSat that can capture hyperspectral information is under development.

 

Clearing the Air with inXitu

Mars Science Laboratory rover

Mars Science Laboratory

inXitu develops clean-tech air purifiers and portable material analyzers. The technology used in inXitu’s portable rock and mineral analyzer was chosen to fly on the Mars Science Laboratory rover (upper left). inXitu has been developing a low-power, passively-cooled, grounded-anode miniature x-ray source to be deployed in miniaturized instruments for surface and subsurface exploration of the solar system. inXitu is also developing solutions targeted for identification and analysis in the areas of explosives, pharmaceuticals, forensics, art and archaeological materials.

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