NASA Spinoff

NASA Technology

They can release as much energy as tens of billions of hydrogen bombs exploding at the same time. They send protons and electrons rocketing at near the speed of light. They heat gas in the Sun’s atmosphere to tens of millions of degrees Celsius. They send a blast of gas and particles toward Earth, posing a danger to spacecraft and astronauts outside the planet’s magnetosphere, in rare cases even knocking out radio communications and power grids on the ground.

NASA Technology

Consider this scenario: A soldier has been critically wounded in a sudden firefight in a remote region of Afghanistan. The soldier’s comrades attend to him and radio for help, but the soldier needs immediate medical expertise and treatment that is currently miles away.

NASA Technology

Dan Carter carefully layered the sheets of tracing paper on the light box. On each sheet were renderings of the atomic components of an essential human protein, one whose structure had long been a mystery. With each layer Carter laid down, a never-before-seen image became clearer.

NASA Technology

The famous “go/no go” command for Space Shuttle launches comes from a place called the Firing Room. Located at Kennedy Space Center in the Launch Control Center (LCC), there are actually four Firing Rooms that take up most of the third floor of the LCC. These rooms comprise the nerve center for Space Shuttle launch and processing.

NASA Technology

Voyager 2 sailing beyond the far boundary of the solar system. The rover Opportunity churning across the red soil of Mars. Cassini-Huygens imaging the moons of Saturn. Capable of journeying well beyond the reach of human explorers, NASA’s robotic missions have probed the distant reaches of space, sending back to Earth streams of unique data and images essential to developing an understanding of our universe. These returns are ultimately housed in NASA’s Planetary Data System (PDS), an archive of data products derived from NASA’s robotic missions, from Galileo to Pioneer to Stardust and more. Appropriately massive for the information it contains, the PDS is distributed across the Nation and organized in eight nodes in conjunction with a host of NASA partner institutions.

When compressed air mixes with jet fuel and is ignited in a turbine engine, the temperature can reach 3,000 °F. As a result of this fiery exhaust, the turbine spins and then forces the air through the back of the engine, and the jet moves forward. While extremely hot air assists in propelling a plane, it can also take a toll on the turbine blades and propeller hubs.

When you think of a beating heart, you might assume it beats at regular intervals, but in actuality, velocity and pressure change with every beat, and the time interval between each beat is different. Now a NASA-developed technology is helping researchers understand blood flow and pressure in ways that may improve treatment for victims of brain injury and stroke.

In the 1980s, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) scientists James Stephens and Charles Miller were studying the harmful properties of light in space, as well as that of artificial radiation produced during laser and welding work. The intense light emitted during welding can harm unprotected eyes, leading to a condition called arc eye, in which ultraviolet light causes inflammation of the cornea and long-term retinal damage.

While the human eye can see a range of phenomena in the world, there is a larger range that it cannot see. Without the aid of technology, people are limited to seeing wavelengths of visible light, a tiny range within the electromagnetic spectrum. Hyperspectral imaging, however, allows people to get a glimpse at how objects look in the ultraviolet (UV) and infrared wavelengths—the ranges on either side of visible light on the spectrum.

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

In spring 2008, Dr. Scott Dulchavsky diagnosed high-altitude pulmonary edema in a climber over 20,000 feet up the slope of Mount Everest. Dulchavsky made the diagnosis from his office in Detroit, half a world away. The story behind this long-distance medical achievement begins with a seemingly unrelated fact: There is no X-ray machine on the International Space Station (ISS).


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