NASA Spinoff

Environmental and Agricultural Resources

NASA Technology

Incredible sights are being seen, thanks to the development of technology both inside and outside of NASA. With just a few clicks, NASA’s Eyes on the...

NASA Technology

Joe Spruce’s last name is a fitting one: Spruce is a research scientist at NASA’s Stennis Space Center working with the US Department of Agriculture Forest...

NASA Technology

One of the hottest solar energy plants in the world was developed with engineering expertise derived from one of the hottest space technologies ever engineered: the...

NASA Technology

On May 11, 2013, two astronauts emerged from the interior of the International Space Station (ISS) and worked their way toward the far end of spacecraft. Over...

NASA Technology

Let’s say you are an academic researcher who needs to collect data over a long period of time, on a site hundreds of miles from your base of operation. You...

NASA Technology

When NASA researcher Stanford Hooker is in the field, he pays close attention to color. For Hooker, being in the field means being at sea. On one such research trip to the frigid waters of the Arctic, with a Coast Guard icebreaker looming nearby and the...

NASA Technology

Long-term human spaceflight means long-term menu planning. Since every pound of cargo comes with a steep price tag, NASA has long researched technologies and techniques to allow astronauts to grow their own food, both on the journey and in some cases at their...

NASA Technology

If you visit Glenn Research Center, you might encounter a photovoltaic (PV) array that looks unlike anything you’ve ever seen. In fact, what one would normally identify as the panel is actually a series of curved mirrors called solar concentrators, engineered to...

NASA Technology

The next time you flip on a light switch, there’s a chance that you could be benefitting from data originally acquired during the Space Shuttle Program. An effort spearheaded by Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the National...

NASA Technology

Hazy smog over cities and smoke pouring from the stacks of factories and power plants are visible reminders of the threat posed by air pollution to the environment and personal health. But air quality is often an unseen influence on our lives. Even on...

NASA Technology

“Right now, solar electric propulsion is being looked at very seriously,” says Michael Piszczor, chief of the photovoltaic and power technologies branch at Glen Research Center. The reason, he explains, originates with a unique NASA mission from the late...

NASA Technology

NASA’s Stennis Space Center is located on 13,500 acres in Hancock County, Mississippi, surrounded by another 125,000 acres that act as a buffer for the deafening roar of rocket engines. It has witnessed the flame and smoke spout from the...

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

In the course of time, circumstance, and coincidence, life sometimes completes some ironic and unlikely circles. During NASA’s early space exploration, a deceptively simple concept allowed scientists and engineers to manage thermal gain. They used...

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Given the size of our planet and its wealth of resources, it is easy to forget that those resources are finite. As Earth’s human population continues to grow, the questions of how to effectively limit and recycle waste, avoid environmental...

Kennedy Space Center’s launch complexes have seen a lot. They have been the starting point for every manned NASA mission, from Mercury to Gemini, through Apollo, and are now seeing the space shuttle through its final launches. Kennedy, part of the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, is also home to over...

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Imagine you are about to be dropped in the middle of a remote, inhospitable region—say the Kalahari Desert. What would you want to have with you on your journey back to civilization? Food and water, of course, but you can only carry so much. A truck...

NASA not only peers up to gather information about space; it also peers down to gather information about Earth. As part of the Science Mission Directorate, NASA’s Earth Science Program aims to improve predictions about climate, weather, and natural hazards by understanding Earth’s response to...

If you are planning a day at your local park or even a weekend camping trip, you would simply pack all the food, drink, and supplies you need. Similarly, astronauts on short-term space missions can get away with packing the provisions they need to survive in space. But long-term space travel — a...

“Who has more satellite data than NASA?” asks Patrick Hogan.

The question is a rhetorical one. After dozens of Earth-observing satellite launches and missions to other planets, NASA has accumulated an unmatched amount of planetary science information, including satellite imagery,...

NASA Technology

In complete darkness, a NASA observatory waits. When an eruption of boiling water billows from a nearby crack in the ground, the observatory’s sensors seek particles in the fluid, measure shifts in carbon isotopes, and analyze samples for biological...

NASA Technology

All research and development has a story behind it, says Jacqueline Quinn, environmental engineer at Kennedy Space Center. For Quinn, one such story begins with the Saturn 1B launch stand at Kennedy and ends with a unique solution to a challenging environmental...

NASA Technology

Signals from global positioning system (GPS) satellites are now being used for more than just location and navigation information. By looking at the radio waves from GPS satellites, a technology developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) not...

NASA Technology

NASA currently has spacecraft orbiting Mercury (MESSENGER), imaging the asteroid Vesta (Dawn), roaming the red plains of Mars (the Opportunity rover), and providing a laboratory for humans to advance scientific research in space (the International Space...

NASA Technology

Resourcefulness is a key quality for living in space, and on the International Space Station (ISS), that means making the most of water supplies. In 2008, the installation of the Water Processing Assembly (WPA) onboard the ISS allowed the space...

NASA Technology

“A spacecraft is the ultimate tight building. We don’t want any leaks, and there is very little fresh air coming in,” says Jay Perry, an aerospace engineer at Marshall Space Flight Center. “As a result, there is a huge potential for a buildup of...

NASA Technology

During launch countdown, at approximately T-7 seconds, the Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs) roar to life. When the controllers indicate normal operation, the solid rocket boosters ignite and the shuttle blasts off. Initially, the SSMEs throttle down to reduce...

Try this: Print out a lower-case letter “o” in Times New Roman, 10-point font. Now hold the paper at arm’s length. Viewed from this distance, the area inside the “o” is approximately equal to the area observed in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, an image taken by the Hubble Space...

One morning in 1990, a group of Glenn Research Center (then Lewis Research Center) employees arrived to find their workspace upended by an apparent hurricane. Papers were scattered, lights blown out. All eyes turned to the door connecting the office to its neighbor: a 20-foot wind...

Water, an increasingly precious commodity on Earth, has always been priceless in space; but “priceless” is a figure of speech—water in space does have a price, and it is an expensive one. A single gallon of water costs over $83,000 to launch just into low-Earth orbit. Despite recent NASA...

Launching the space shuttle involves an interesting paradox: While the temperatures inside the shuttle’s main engines climb higher than 6,000 °F— hot enough to boil iron—for fuel, the engines use liquid hydrogen, the second coldest liquid on Earth after liquid helium.