NASA Spinoff

COVERED IN COMFORT

In 1988, NASA began working with private industry to develop thermally adaptive phase-change materials that could be applied to astronauts suits and gloves for better protection against the bitter cold and scorching heat encountered in space.

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Inertial Motion-Tracking Technology for Virtual 3-D

In the 1990s, NASA pioneered virtual reality research. The concept was present long before, but, prior to this, the technology did not exist to make a viable virtual reality system. Scientists had theories and ideas they knew that the concept had potential but the computers of the 1970s and 1980s

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Crystal-Clear Communication a Sweet-Sounding Success

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. On July 20, 1969, millions were glued to their television sets when NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong offered these famous words via live broadcast, upon becoming the first man to ever step foot on the Moon.

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NASA, the Fisherman's Friend

Every angler has his secrets, whether it be an old family recipe for stink bait, a midnight worm-hunting ritual, or the most coveted of all, the no-fail fishing hole. Most of these secrets are lore and legend, passed through generations, and coveted more than the family's best tableware. Each of

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Experiments With Small Animals Rarely Go This Well

In the mid-1950s, a young U.S. Air Force engineer named Clark Beck began work with what is now one of NASA's most prolific spinoffs, the radiant barrier technology. Beck's work involved creating materials that could withstand the immense heat created by passage through the Earth's atmosphere. He was working on

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Forty-Year-Old Foam Springs Back With New Benefits

The most recognized and widely used NASA spinoff is at it again. Temper foam, whose origins date back to 1966 when it was developed to absorb shock and, thus, offer improved protection and comfort in NASA's airplane seats, has paid its dividends to Earth repeatedly, and in many different ways.

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Bringing Thunder and Lightning Indoors

Piezoelectric materials convert mechanical energy into electrical energy and electrical energy into mechanical energy. They generate electrical charges in response to mechanical stress and generate mechanical displacement and/or force when subjected to an electric current.

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NASA's Growing Commitment: The Space Garden

Astronauts cannot live on dehydrated ice cream alone. Like everyone else, they need their vegetables. Enter VEGGIE, the Deployable Vegetable System, currently under development by Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC). VEGGIE is the latest in a long line of vegetable production units ORBITEC is currently working on, with NASA assistance, to

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Nanoscale Materials Make for Large-Scale Applications

Since its dawning days, NASA has been at the forefront of developing and improving materials for aerospace applications. In particular, NASA requires dramatic advancements in material properties to enhance the performance, robustness, and reliability of its launch vehicles, spacecraft, and the International Space Station. Such advancements over the years include

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Cooking Dinner at Home From the Office

It is well past quitting time, but you are still stuck in the office. Your spouse left work over an hour ago, but is caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic. As a result, neither of you were available to pick up your daughter on time from her soccer game. If your son

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