- Scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have launched a web site (www.sensorwebs.jpl.nasa.gov) that provides information, pictures, and animation about wireless "webs" of small sensors. A sensor web consists of a number of small pods that house transducers to collect data from the environment. It also includes communication chips to move the data around the web to primary pods.
- Los Alamos' Engineering Science and Applications Division is working with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center to refine heat-pipe technology for space flight. Their work will include qualification of heat pipes a half-inch in diameter and nearly five feet long to help cool NASA spacecraft, and development of heat pipes for use in nuclear reactors. This technology is expected to produce propulsion and generate electricity for spacecraft.
Information is collected from the pod's sensors and transmitted either to the Internet or to an overhead satellite. To make data transmission much more energy efficient, data essentially hops short distances from one pod to another. Data from one pod is shared by all other pods on the web. Each pod is aware of the information being collected at different locations. Sensor webs will play a crucial role in helping NASA establish a virtual presence for exploration throughout the solar system.