Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Electronic Nose: Nothing To Sniff At

Date:
June 12, 2000
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
NASA scientists are expanding the sensitivity of an electronic nose, while shrinking its size to make it more compact for future space missions following a Space Shuttle flight that successfully demonstrated the technology.

NASA scientists are expanding the sensitivity of an electronic nose, while shrinking its size to make it more compact for future space missions following a Space Shuttle flight that successfully demonstrated the technology.

"The E-Nose was able to determine changes in humidity accurately, which we confirmed using an independent humidity monitor in the shuttle cabin," said Dr. Amy Ryan, principal investigator for E-Nose at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "While we would have liked to monitor any of the ten common contaminants the E-Nose was trained to smell, fortunately for the crew none was detected. That was confirmed with air samples brought back in canisters from the flight."

The ability to monitor recycled air is very important to the space program, especially in closed environments such as the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station and any future space outpost that features a closed human habitat. Early detection of potentially harmful spills or leaks is essential so that crew members can immediately take action to remedy the situation. Even if a human nose could detect every possible odor and identify it, fatigue or a cold would impair the nose's sensing ability.

"Space crews are very, very busy," said Ryan. "Anything we can do to automate their tasks and keep the space habitat safe is highly desirable. Now we need to further develop E-Nose's capability to detect various odors and differentiate between those that signify danger and those that do not. We are working with people at other NASA centers to optimize this technology."

Since there are limits on size and power requirements in constricted quarters, miniaturization is important. The unit flown on STS-95 is only about the size of a large paperback, weighs 1.4 kilograms (about 3 pounds), including the operating computer, and uses an average of 1.5 watts of power. Dimensions are 18.5 by 11.5 by 12 centimeters (7-3/4 by 4-1/2 by 4-3/4 inches).

"Our current efforts are directed towards improving the sensitivity of the E-Nose, expanding the compounds we can detect from 12 to 24, and making the unit even smaller," Ryan said. "Decreasing the size and weight will be pretty straightforward, since the shuttle's space allocation requirements dictated the special box we used for that flight."

A major application that JPL scientists are pursuing is the detection of a fire before the blaze erupts. Fires can smolder in closed areas, such as insulation in paneling or around wires, for some time before flames actually appear. With early detection, the fire can be extinguished safely before much damage occurs. The many potential commercial uses include "sniffing" for unexploded land mines; for spills in chemical plants that could contaminate workers; for plant ripeness to harvest at the desired point in the agricultural cycle; and for possible diagnosis of disease based on odors from human perspiration and breath.

The JPL E-Nose flown on the Space Shuttle used sensor technology from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. The project is managed for NASA's Office of Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications.

JPL is managed for NASA by Caltech.

#####

An image of the electronic nose, with caption, is available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/pictures/tech/enose .


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Electronic Nose: Nothing To Sniff At." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 June 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/06/000612085504.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2000, June 12). Electronic Nose: Nothing To Sniff At. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/06/000612085504.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Electronic Nose: Nothing To Sniff At." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/06/000612085504.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

AP (July 22, 2014) A Russian Soyuz cargo-carrying spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station on Monday. The craft is due to undergo about ten days of engineering tests before it burns up in the Earth's atmosphere. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

AP (July 21, 2014) NASA honored one of its most famous astronauts Monday by renaming a historic building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It now bears the name of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, July 18, 2014

This Week @ NASA, July 18, 2014

NASA (July 18, 2014) Apollo 11 yesterday, Next Giant Leap tomorrow, Science instruments for Europa mission, and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins