NASA Spinoff

Space-Inspired Trailers Encourage Exploration on Earth

NASA Technology An inch can make a world of difference. Which is why Garrett Finney moved the office coffee-maker into the full-size, cardboard mockup of the new trailer he was designing. The need for caffeine—and the threat of hot coffee accidentally dumped on a coworker—provided motivation and means for assessing the feasibility of a confined living

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Ultra-Thin Coatings Beautify Art

NASA Technology The craftsmen in the Roman Empire who constructed the Lycurgus Cup 17 centuries ago probably didn’t think their artifact would survive for nearly 2,000 years as a prized possession. And they certainly couldn’t have known that the technology they used to make it would eventually become an important part of space exploration.

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Spacesuit Materials Add Comfort to Undergarments

NASA Technology “Life’s too short to wear average underwear,” says Mo Moorman, the director of public relations at Jockey International. By “average underwear,” Moorman means underwear without NASA technology in it.

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Gigapixel Images Connect Sports Teams with Fans

NASA Technology NASA’s twin Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, remain one of the Agency’s greatest achievements in exploration. On Earth, these robots are best known for their stunning pictures of the Martian landscape—images that, in addition to providing invaluable scientific data, have also given ordinary people an unprecedented look at the Red Planet.

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Satellite Maps Deliver More Realistic Gaming

NASA Technology In June 2009, NASA launched Terra, the flagship of NASA’s Earth Observing System, which studies a sweeping set of the planet’s characteristics. Included in the satellite is the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER). ASTER is a cooperative effort between NASA and Japan’s Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, with the collaboration of scientific

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Elemental Scanning Devices Authenticate Works of Art

NASA Technology What do you think the paper or computer screen you are looking at is made of? Are the shoes you are wearing really made of leather? Is the table nearby made of wood? How can you be sure? For most people, these questions may sound like useless speculation, because they are largely inconsequential to daily

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Do-It-Yourself Additives Recharge Auto Air Conditioning

Even though it drops to -279 °F at night and dips to -400 °F inside its deepest craters, the Moon can reach a scorching 260 °F during the day. The range of temperatures is extreme—in part because there is no substantial atmosphere on the Moon to insulate against the heat

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Nanomaterials Transform Hairstyling Tools

Dr. Dennis Morrison, a former scientist at Johnson Space Center, spent part of his 34-year career with NASA performing research on nanomaterials—materials 10,000 times smaller than a human hair. Specifically, Morrison’s research on nanoceramic materials started with the development of microcapsules, or tiny balloons the size of blood cells, designed

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Lightweight Material Patches Allow for Quick Repairs

Here on Earth, if your sink springs a leak, you can call in a plumber, or if you’re handy, you can head out to the local hardware store, buy a few replacement parts, and fix the problem yourself. If the leak isn’t particularly bad, you can even place a bucket

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Image Sensors Enhance Camera Technologies

Buzz Aldrin standing on the stark surface of the Moon. The towering gas pillars of the Eagle Nebula. The rocky, rust-colored expanses of Mars. Among NASA’s successes in space exploration have been the indelible images the Agency’s efforts have returned to Earth. From the Hubble Space Telescope to the Hasselblad

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