Kristofer S.J. Pister (Advisor)

Research Advised by Professor Kristofer S.J. Pister

Pister Group:  List of Projects | List of Researchers

Small Solar Sails could be the next ‘Giant Leap’ for Interplanetary Space Exploration

January 10, 2024
Researchers aim to create a fleet of low-cost, autonomous spacecraft propelled by light particles

Nearly 70 years after the launch of the first satellite, we still have more questions than answers about space. But a team of Berkeley researchers is on a mission to change this with a proposal to build a fleet of low-cost, autonomous spacecraft, each weighing only 10 grams and propelled by nothing more than the pressure of solar radiation. These miniaturized solar sails could potentially visit thousands of near-Earth asteroids and comets, capturing high-resolution images and...

BLISS: Interplanetary Exploration with Swarms of Low-Cost Spacecraft

Alexander Alvara
Lydia Lee
Emmanuel Sin
Nathan Lambert
Andrew Westphal
Kristofer S.J. Pister
Leveraging advancements in micro-scale technology, we propose a fleet of autonomous, low-cost, small solar sails for interplanetary exploration. The Berkeley Low-cost Interplanetary Solar Sail (BLISS) project aims to utilize small-scale technologies to create a fleet of tiny interplanetary femto-spacecraft for rapid, low-cost exploration of the inner solar system. This paper describes the hardware required to build a ∼10 g spacecraft using a 1 m2 solar sail steered by micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) inchworm actuators. The trajectory control to a NEO, here 101955 Bennu, is detailed...

Omar Alkendi

Undergraduate Researcher
Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
Professor Kristofer S.J. Pister (Advisor)
B.S. 2023

BPN956: Time-of-Flight Hardware for the Solar Probe ANalyzer for Ions (SPAN-Ion)

Omar Alkendi
Lydia Lee

Monitoring and building our understanding of space weather is necessary to protect current and future astronauts and hardware, as well as further our understanding of its effects on atmospheric development and loss. This project has developed two radiation-hardened sensor frontends to measure the ion composition of the solar wind aboard the Solar Probe ANalyzer for Ions (SPAN-Ion). SPAN-Ion uses time-of-flight mass spectrometry to distinguish ions by their mass: charge ratios; the target architecture for future missions decreases mass and increases speed in exchange for several orders of...

Yichen Liu

Graduate Student Researcher
Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
Professor Kristofer S.J. Pister (Advisor)
Ph.D. 2027 (Anticipated)
First-year Ph.D. student in EECS at UC Berkeley Concentration in MEMS The current project on locomotion controller design on micro-walker through reinforcement learning

BSAC Spring 2023 Research Review Presenter

BPN987: Single-chip µV Precision ADC for SCµM-V

Yu-Chi Lin
Daniel Lovell
Ali M. Niknejad
Kristofer S.J. Pister

We are developing a millimeter-square low-power wireless ADC capable of detecting and transmitting microvolt-level signals. This ADC offers potential for high-precision measurements in various domains, including biomedical, automotive, and IoT. The immediate objective of this project is to design a concurrent TMS-EEG-MRI system – a temporal and spatial imaging method that may unveil the intricacies of brain circuits. The high-precision ADC enables acquisition of EEG signals down to 10µV, while the wireless communication remains robust to heating and disturbance issues induced by MRI...

BPN990: Anti-Drone Radar-Guided Micromissiles

Titan Yuan
Carson Spoo
Cedric Murphy
Jenna Dickman
Asa Garner
Eric Yang

Since drones can be flown remotely or autonomously and can navigate dangerous environments without any risk to human operators, they are attractive for military applications, including surveillance, reconnaissance, and combat missions. At the same time, enemy drones pose a growing serious threat to civilians and soldiers. Current anti-drone warfare is either inaccurate, expensive, or large in size, so this project aims to build a low-cost, crayon-sized radar-guided microrocket to target drones up to 100 m away.

Project currently funded by: Membership Fees

BPN985: Multimaterial Nanoscale 3D Printing

Daniel Teal

We propose a new multimaterial 3D printing technique with projected sub-micron resolution. Inorganic nanoparticles (≈1-10nm) of common microfabrication materials are electrically charged, manipulated electromagnetically in vacuum with an ion trap, and shot toward a substrate where they deposit onto a part under construction, similar to PVD methods. To date, we have demonstrated some basic material deposition and are beginning implementation of high-resolution printing. Eventually, this ion printing technology could allow rapid prototyping of integrated circuits and MEMS....

BPN951: Berkeley Low-cost Interplanetary Solar Sail (BLISS)

Alexander Alvara
Bhuvan M. Belur

Space exploration often costs multiple millions of dollars for each exploratory mission to get a single piece of equipment into orbit. These missions usually return information in the form of scans or images or samples in the form of extracted material. This work proposes the manufacture and deployment of thousands of imaging capable solar sails systems with 10 gram payloads. Power generation is enabled through solar panels and batteries. Navigation is enabled through one square meter solar sails maneuvered by inchworm motors. Communications are enabled by laser transmitters and SPAD...