NASA Spinoff

Robots Save Soldiers’ Lives Overseas

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution NASA intends to return people to the Moon, but this time to stay. Future plans include living quarters, scientific laboratories, a permanent lunar community, and a training ground for a future mission to Mars. Ahead of these first 21st century boots on the Moon, though, the Space Agency

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Apollo-Era Life Rafts Save Hundreds of Sailors

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution The space shuttle is unique among spacecraft in that it glides back to Earth and lands like an airplane, usually touching ground near where it launched at Kennedy Space Center, but sometimes, in poor weather, gliding into the back-up landing site at Dryden Flight Research Center and then

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Circuits Enhance Scientific Instruments and Safety Devices

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution Since its founding in 1958, NASA has pioneered the use of different frequencies on the electromagnetic spectrum—including X-ray, microwave, and infrared wavelengths—to gather information about distant celestial bodies. During the 1962 Mariner 2 mission, NASA used microwave radiometers that operated in the range of 15–23 gigahertz (GHz) to

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Tough Textiles Protect Payloads and Public Safety Officers

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution Special textiles have been mission-critical components for successful space missions since the early years of NASA’s first parachutes and space suits in the late 1950s. One of the Agency’s more recognizable uses for textiles, the Mars Pathfinder airbags, provided a cushioned, instrument-friendly landing in 1997. This same technology

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Advanced X-Ray Sources Ensure Safe Environments

Originating Technology/NASA ContributionSuccessfully sustaining life in space requires closely monitoring the environment to ensure the health of the crew. Astronauts can be more sensitive to air pollutants because of the closed environment, and pollutants are magnified in space exploration because the astronauts’ exposure is continuous. Sources of physical, chemical, and

Polymer Fabric Protects Firefighters, Military, and Civilians

Originating Technology/NASA ContributionInsulating and protecting astronauts from temperature extremes, from the 3 K (-455 °F) of deep space to the 1,533 K (2,300 °F) of atmospheric reentry, is central to NASA’s human space flight program. While the space shuttle and capsule vehicles necessarily receive a great deal of thermal barrier

Fiber Optic Sensing Monitors Strain and Reduces Costs

Originating Technology/NASA ContributionIn applications where stress on a structure may vary widely and have an unknown impact on integrity, a common engineering strategy has been overbuilding to ensure a sufficiently robust design. While this may be appropriate in applications where weight concerns are not paramount, space applications demand a bare

Space Suit Technologies Protect Deep-Sea Divers

Originating Technology/NASA ContributionWorking on NASA missions allows engineers and scientists to hone their skills. Creating devices for the high-stress rigors of space travel pushes designers to their limits, and the results often far exceed the original concepts. The technologies developed for the extreme environment of space are often applicable here

Plants Clean Air and Water for Indoor Environments

Although one of NASA’s goals is to send people to the far reaches of our universe, it is still well known that people need Earth. We understand that humankind’s existence relies on its complex relationship with this planet’s environment—in particular, the regenerative qualities of Earth’s ecosystems.

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Infrared Imaging Sharpens View in Critical Situations

The Microgravity Combustion Science group at NASA’s Glenn Research Center studies how fire and combustible liquids and gasses behave in low-gravity conditions. This group, currently working as part of the Life Support and Habitation Branch under the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, conducts this research with a careful eye toward fire

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