The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just some of the examples of NASA-developed technology used in products today.
This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. If you are interested in licensing the technologies described here, use the contact information provided. To learn about more available technologies, visit the NASA Technology Transfer Portal at http://technology.nasa.gov .
GPS and General Satellite Tracking
Jet Propulsion Laboratory has developed the GIPSY-OASIS II software to substantially improve positioning accuracy for both ground and space applications. The software architecture offers automated and fast operations, is highly modular, and can be adapted to a variety of GPS and non-GPS applications. GIPSY-OASIS II incorporates the most precise and up-to-date models available to generate and maintain real-time positioning data to better than 1 m accuracy. The data analysis system can readily be applied to virtually any GPS estimation problem, and can easily be optimized and automated for that purpose.
Contact: Jet Propulsion Laboratory Technology Transfer Office
Atomic Oxygen Texturing and Cleaning
Spacecraft surfaces in low Earth orbit are bombarded by atomic oxygen. Glenn Research Center discovered that hyperthermal atomic oxygen can produce a microscopic cone-like structure on most polymers. In addition, atomic oxygen can oxidize all hydrocarbon biological contaminants on surgical implant materials. The resulting surface is entirely free of any bacteria, viruses, prions, cells, or any organic matter. Improved tissue attachment promotes recovery, functionality, and durability. Atomic oxygen is highly effective in eliminating endotoxins and other biological contaminants from implant surfaces to reduce the potential for inflammatory responses.
Contact: Glenn Research Center Technology Transfer Office
Plant Chlorophyll Content Meter
A handheld unit was developed by Stennis Space Center that, by determining the plant’s chlorophyll content, detects plant stress. When plants are suffering from physiological stress, leaf chlorophyll content will decrease. The technology analyzes light reflected from plants, which can be correlated to chlorophyll content and, consequently, the level of plant stress. This technology could be used in agriculture, precision farming, horticulture, and plant research to promote healthier and more productive plants, reduce chemical expenses and environmental concerns, and monitor the physiological effects of plant stress.