PAGE CONTENT: Everything you would ever want to know about Project Prometheus
NASA Commitment to Nanotechnology
NASA and the Johnson Space Center (JSC) have made a
commitment to pursue and drive breakthrough technologies to expand human exploration
of space. The very future of space exploration depends on advanced technologies such as
nanotechnology and biomimetics. Toward this goal, JSC is focusing on the development
of nanotechnology based on single-wall carbon nanotubes. JSC is working toward bulk SWNT production methods to reduce
cost and foster widespread applications studies. In addition, we are pursuing
applications, including fabrication of SWNT composites, with predicted strength-to-weight
ratios that far exceed any of todays materials. NASA's commitment to nanotechnology
is testimony that nanoscopic materials, nanoelectronics and molecular devices will be
fundamental to future space exploration.
About the Project
The JSC Carbon Nanotube Project is focused on developing
bulk nanotube production, purification and application of Single-Wall Carbon
Nanotubes (SWNT's). Production techniques being investigated are pulsed laser vaporization (PLV),
arc discharge and a gas phase process (HiPco) in collaboration with
The goal of our project is to develop nanotube
applications for use in human space exploration. Because of their superior strength-to-weight
ratio, SWNT composites are expected to reduce spacecraft weight by 50% or more.
Other exploration applications include energy storage, life support systems,
thermal materials, nanoelectronics, nanosensors, electrostatic discharge
materials, and biomedical applications.
JSC's distinctive effort is the study of nanotube growth
using the PLV facility. Our world class diagnostic facility enables the study
of the plasma plume during nanotube production to understand nanotube formation processes
and yield optimization techniques. After production, nanotube quality, diameter and purity are
characterized by Raman spectroscopy, SEM, TEM, TGA, and UV/VIS/NIR spectral analyses.
SWNT technology applications are also supported through the
Small Business Innovative Research Program. These technologies include
ultracapacitors and structural composite materials. These and
other fields will likely be revolutionized due to the size and properties of nanotubes. Additional innovative applications
will soon become evident as nanotechnology continues to mature.
JSC Nanotube Project Goals
Ensure a reliable source of nanotubes with controlled properties (length, purity, diameter, chirality) using diagnostics, parametric studies, and modeling to understand and improve processes.
Develop and employ characterization techniques to examine nanotubes and nanoscale materials.
Develop processing methods for nanotubes from various sources to enhance structural, thermal, electrical, and chemical properties.
Conduct initial studies or sponsor development of applications of nanoscale materials.
Establish a scientific network of academic, industry, and government partners to leverage resources and disseminate knowledge.
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Responsible NASA Official: Joseph L. Prather (Email: email@example.com) (Phone: x31483)
Last Updated: 06/12/2012 : JPrather