NASA Spinoff

Environmental and Agricultural Resources

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Thermal Insulation Strips Conserve Energy

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.

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Satellite-Respondent Buoys Identify Ocean Debris

NASA operates a series of Earth-observing satellites, which help scientists learn more about our home planet. Through partnerships with universities and other government agencies, like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Space Agency helps scientists around the...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Mobile Instruments Measure Atmospheric Pollutants

As a part of NASA’s active research of the Earth’s atmosphere, which has included missions such as the Atmospheric Laboratory of Applications and Science (ATLAS, launched in 1992) and the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS, launched on the Earth Probe satellite in 1996), the...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Cloud Imagers Offer New Details on Earth’s Health

A stunning red sunset or purple sunrise is an aesthetic treat with a scientific explanation: The colors are a direct result of the absorption or reflectance of solar radiation by atmospheric aerosols, minute particles (either solid or liquid) in the Earth’s atmosphere that occur both...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Antennas Lower Cost of Satellite Access

Whether for scientific inquiry, weather forecasting, or public safety, the world relies upon the data gathered by satellite remote sensing. Some of NASA’s most valuable work is in its remote sensing capabilities—the ability to retrieve data acquired at great distances—affording a height and scope...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Feature Detection Systems Enhance Satellite Imagery

In 1963, during the ninth orbit of the Faith 7 capsule, astronaut Gordon Cooper skipped his nap and took some photos of the Earth below using a Hasselblad camera. The sole flier on the Mercury-Atlas 9 mission, Cooper took 24 photos—never-before-seen images including the Tibetan plateau,...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Chlorophyll Meters Aid Plant Nutrient Management

On December 7, 1972, roughly 5 hours and 6 minutes after launch, the crew of Apollo 17 took one of history’s most famous photographs. The brilliant image of the fully illuminated Earth, the African and Antarctic continents peering out from behind swirling clouds, came to be known as the...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Web-Based Mapping Puts the World at Your Fingertips

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

NASA’s award-winning Earth Resources Laboratory Applications Software (ELAS) package was developed at Stennis Space Center. Since 1978, ELAS has been used worldwide for processing satellite and airborne sensor imagery data of the Earth’s...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Innovative Stemless Valve Eliminates Emissions

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

The past, present, and future of NASA launch and space travel technologies are steeped in the icy realm of cryogenics. NASA employs cryogenics, the science of generating extremely low temperatures and the behavior of materials at those...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Portable Nanomesh Creates Safer Drinking Water

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Providing astronauts with clean water is essential to space exploration to ensure the health and well-being of crewmembers away from Earth. For the sake of efficient and safe long-term space travel, NASA constantly seeks to improve the process of...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Robots Explore the Farthest Reaches of Earth and Space

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

“We were the first that ever burst/Into that silent sea,” the title character recounts in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s opus Rime of the Ancient Mariner. This famous couplet is equally applicable to undersea exploration today as surface...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Battery Technology Stores Clean Energy

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Affordable and reliable clean energy has been a tantalizing, but elusive, quarry. Featured in Spinoff 1985 and pioneered by Lawrence Thaller at Lewis (now Glenn) Research Center in the 1970s as a potential alternate energy source for long-term space...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Computer Model Locates Environmental Hazards

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Since 1972, Landsat satellites have collected information about Earth from space. Specialized digital photographs of Earth’s continents and surrounding coastal regions have helped people study many aspects of our planet and analyze and protect...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Treatment Prevents Corrosion in Steel and Concrete Structures

NASA's Kennedy Space Center is located on prime beachfront property along the Atlantic coast of Florida on Cape Canaveral. While beautiful, this region presents several challenges, like temperamental coastal weather, lightning storms, and salty, corrosive, sea breezes assaulting...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Voltage Controller Saves Energy, Prolongs Life of Motors

In the late 1970s, Frank Nola, an engineer at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, had an idea for reducing energy waste in small induction motors. The idea, a method to electronically adjust the voltage in accordance with the motor's load, was patented in 1984. The voltage controllers...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Sensor Network Provides Environmental Data

The National Biocomputation Center is a joint partnership between the Stanford University School of Medicine's Department of Surgery and NASA's Ames Research Center. Founded in 1997, the goal of the Biocomputation Center has been to develop advanced technologies for medicine. Researchers at this center...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Advanced Systems Map, Monitor, and Manage Earth’s Resources

A "revolution in remote sensing" took place in the mid-1980s, when Dr. Alexander F.H. Goetz and his colleagues at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed a powerful instrument called AVIRIS (Airborne Visible InfraRed Imaging Spectrometer), according to Dr. Nicholas Short, author of...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
TREE-MENDOUS TIMBER EVALUATION

Funded and administered by NASA, the Affiliated Research Center (ARC) program transfers geospatial technologies from the Space Agency and participating universities to commercial companies, non-profit and trade organizations, and tribal governments. The origins of the ARC program date back to 1988, when NASA's...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
A VIEW FROM ABOVE WITHOUT LEAVING THE GROUND

In order to deliver accurate geospatial data and imagery to the remote sensing community, NASA is constantly developing new image-processing algorithms while refining existing ones for technical improvement. For 8 years, the NASA Regional Applications Center at Florida International University has...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
SECURING SAFETY WITH SENSORS

The Robot Systems Technology Branch at NASA's Johnson Space Center collaborated with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to design Robonaut , a humanoid robot developed to assist astronauts with Extra Vehicular Activities (EVA) such as space structure assembly and repair operations. By working side-by-side...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
SUPPORTING WEATHER DATA

Since its founding in 1992, Global Science & Technology, Inc. (GST), of Greenbelt, Maryland, has been developing technologies and providing services in support of NASA scientific research. GST specialties include scientific analysis, science data and information systems, data visualization, communications, networking and...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
DIESEL GOES DIGITAL TO SAVE ENERGY, LOWER EMISSIONS

Forty years ago, actuators requiring constant energy to help power the Apollo spacecraft in space were replaced by magnetically holding and releasing, electronically controlled valves. Today, these same magnetic, electronic valves are on the verge of replacing entire camshaft systems in cars...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
MULTI-CHANNEL SCALER CARDS IMPROVE DATA COLLECTION

Scientists interested in exploring the intricacies and dynamics of Earth's climate and ecosystems continually need smaller, lighter instrumentation that can be placed onboard various sensing platforms, such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Responding to a need for improved data collection for...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
WATER TREATMENT SYSTEMS MAKE A BIG SPLASH

In the 1960s, NASA's Manned Space Center (now known as Johnson Space Center) and the Garrett Corporation, Air Research Division, conducted a research program to develop a small, lightweight water purifier for the Apollo spacecraft that would require minimal power and would not need to be monitored...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Washing Away the Worries About Germs

Fresh fruits and vegetables have been in demand by orbiting astronauts since the early days of the Space Shuttle. As one can imagine, however, oranges, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and other fresh items can provide a cornucopia of smells in a closed environment such as the Space Shuttle or the International...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Making the Most of Waste Energy

The Thermo-Mechanical Systems Branch at NASA's Glenn Research Center is responsible for planning and conducting research efforts to advance thermal systems for space, aerospace, and non-aerospace applications. Technological areas pertain to solar and thermal energy conversion. For example, thermo-mechanical...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Pesticide-Free Device a Fatal Attraction for Mosquitoes

Are those pesky mosquitoes getting more entertainment out of your family picnic than you are? If the answer is yes, then it is time to reclaim your backyard with assistance from an unlikely partner.

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Remote Sensing for Farmers and Flood Watching

The Applied Sciences Directorate, part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, makes use of the Agency's remote-sensing capabilities to acquire detailed information about our home planet. It uses this information for a variety of purposes, ranging from increasing agricultural efficiency to protecting...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Water and Air Measures That Make PureSense

Each day, we read about mounting global concerns regarding the ability to sustain supplies of clean water and to reduce air contamination. With water and air serving as life's most vital elements, it is important to know when these environmental necessities may be contaminated, in order to eliminate...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Harnessing the Power of the Sun

The Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology (ERAST) Alliance was created in 1994 and operated for 9 years as a NASA-sponsored coalition of 28 members from small companies, government, universities, and nonprofit organizations. ERAST's goal was to foster development of remotely piloted aircraft...