Practical benefits of NASA and space spinoff technology? Part one

Some of the best kept secrets are how NASA and spinoff space technology benefits consumers in everyday life. I was watching a presidential primary political debate recently and I was surprised how incredibly ignorant many of the candidates were about space technology and NASA. Indeed, frightenly, many of the candidates had a mediocre attitude toward space technology at best, and a few even indicated that if they were commander in chief, they’d virtually cut the NASA budget completely.

The question deserves to be asked, what are some of the benefits of NASA and space technology that impact the average person?

Even a casual glance at the evidence merits a response of “Wow. The practical, tangible benefits of space technology to everyday life are extraordinary. “ Dollar for dollar, perhaps one of the best return-on-investments for our economy and quality of life issues, is generated from NASA and space technology.

“People often talk about wasting money in space. I don’t know what the exchange rate is in space. Every dollar spent is invested right here on Earth and there are many tangible benefits that come from that investment — from the bar codes used in the management of your food in grocery stores to the cordless tools in your garage — there’s not a lot of technology you use today that hasn’t benefited from space exploration.
NASA deputy assistant administrator of Public Affairs, Bob Jacobs

This is part one in a series.

What are we learning from space technology that is making our daily lives better?

Keeping fruits and vegetables cleaner and germ-free

“NASA has helped develop a product that thoroughly cleanses fruits and vegetables being sent into space, helping to increase their shelf life. Meanwhile, this product is ripe for the picking for consumers on Earth.” Read more

Steering aircraft away from choppy air

“A team of researchers at NASA’s Langley Research Center have worked with industry partners to develop two special tools that can provide real-time alerts about potentially hazardous turbulence. By measuring the movement of moisture in the air, this specialized software enhances the predictive Doppler wind shear systems already in use. ”
Read More

Helps detect and treat heart disease

“NASA space technology is helping doctors diagnose and monitor treatments for hardening of the arteries in its early stages, before it causes heart attacks and strokes.

Hospitals and doctors around the country are using ArterioVision software initially developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., along with a standardized, painless, non-invasive ultrasound examination of the carotid artery, which carries blood from the heart to the brain.”
Read More

NASA technology helps us better understand hurricanes

“This mission was unique because it incorporated NASA’s state-of-the-art technology in space and in the air. With sophisticated satellite data and aircraft, scientists are better able to examine the “tug-of-war” between forces favorable for hurricane development — warm sea surface temperatures and rotating clusters of strong thunderstorms — and forces that suppress hurricanes such as dust particles and changing wind speed and direction at high altitudes.”
Read More

NASA technology has a leading role in developing wireless technology

“While they have many uses in the space industry, conductive fibers can also reduce the maintenance cost of commercial planes, military aircraft, and missile guidance wires. On the ground, you might see them in power lines, lightweight deployable antennas, and airbag wiring in cars. Giant-areas of flexible circuits might be used for mass energy harvesting. You could also reach out and touch this technology in the form of a flexible keyboard.”
Read More

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~ by tellinghistory on December 27, 2007.

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