Multi-Parameter Aerosol Scattering Sensor (MPASS)


MPASS is an acronym for multi-parameter aerosol scattering sensor. The MPASS is a very compact sensor that characterizes aerosols or particles that are suspended in the atmosphere. We started out initially from our interest in fire safety. What you would think analogously as a home smoke detector. Fire safety is a very very important feature in designing and operating a spacecraft. An MPASS center was recently used to perform experiments on the International Space Station. In this case the experiments focused on characterizing the kind of fire signatures that are produced in the unique environment of space. The MPASS is actually an optical sensor. In this case we determine particle properties by looking at the way they scatter light. So, it is a small scattering sensor that contains a laser source very similar to the technology you would have in your CD or DVD player. Then there’s a number of…an array of detectors that measure that scattered light and from that information we can determine characteristics of the particle properties themselves. Our technology is unique in one key area, which we just patented, concerns the accuracy with which we can measure these particle properties and we can do that much more accurately than any comparable device. The other feature that’s very important is we managed to make the package much smaller, more durable, lighter weight, lower in power consumption, mechanical durability, than anything comparable. We’re currently involved in a series of experiments where we’re developing empath sensors to be worn by firefighters and first responders because the environment that they’re exposed to is very hazardous and we need this information to learn more about the respiratory health effects that they’re exposed to and also to develop better protective gear for them to perform these important functions. This NASA technology and many others are ready to be transferred to your business find out more by visiting technology.nasa.gov