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NASA Technology

In 1990, NASA grounded its space shuttle fleet. The reason: leaks detected in the hydrogen fuel systems of the Space Shuttles Atlantis and Columbia. Unless the sources of the leaks could be identified and fixed, the shuttles would not be safe to fly.

NASA Technology

Pedro Medelius waited patiently in his lab at Kennedy Space Center. He had just received word that a colleague was bringing over a cable from a Space Shuttle solid rocket booster to test Medelius’ new invention. Medelius was calm until his colleague arrived—with about 30 other people.

NASA Technology

Shortly before midnight on September 21st, 2010, the small fishing boat Ebby Luz started taking on water. In immediate danger and 8 miles from the shore, its crew activated an emergency beacon that began transmitting their distress signal, identity, and location. Within minutes, the Coast Guard was notified and launched a helicopter to the coordinates received from the alert. Even though the vessel had already sunk by the time help arrived, and despite it being pitch dark, the rescuers were able to locate and save both crewmembers from the water.

NASA Technology

Alongside the tragedies that are part of the history of human spaceflight, bittersweet lessons have been learned. These lessons have not only taught us about the extreme requirements of space travel; they have taught us how to live more safely on Earth.

NASA Technology

Terra. Aqua. Cloudsat. Landsat. NASA runs and partners in many missions dedicated to monitoring the Earth, and the tools used in these missions continuously return data on everything from shifts in temperature to cloud formation to pollution levels over highways. The data are of great scientific value, but they also provide information that can play a critical role in decision making during times of crisis. Real-time developments in weather, wind, ocean currents, and numerous other conditions can have a significant impact on the way disasters—both natural and human-caused—unfold.

NASA Technology

Here’s a simple science experiment to try: Place an unopened bottle of distilled water in your freezer. After 2–3 hours, if the water is pure enough, you will notice that it has not frozen. Carefully pour the water into a bowl with a piece of ice in it. When it strikes the ice, the water will instantly freeze.

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