Operation of an Electronic Nose Aboard the Space Shuttle and Directions for Research for a Second Generation Device
A flight experiment to test the operation of an Electronic Nose developed and built at JPL and Caltech was done aboard STS-95 in October-November, 1998. This ENose uses conductometric sensors made of insulating polymer-carbon composite films; it has a volume of 1.7 liters, weighs 1.4 kg including the operating computer and operates on 1.5 W average power. In the flight experiment, the ENose was operated continuously for 6 days and recorded the sensors' response to changes in air in the mid-deck of the orbiter. The ENose had been trained to identify and quantify ten common contaminants at the 24-hour Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentration (SMAC) level. Most SMACs are on the order of 10-100 ppm. The experiment was controlled by collecting air samples daily and analyzing them using standard analytical techniques after the flight. The device is microgravity insensitive.