NASA Spinoff

Public Safety

Spinoff: Public Safety
Methane Detector Sniffs Out Leaks

NASA Technology

Methane is everywhere on Earth, for better and for worse. Among other things, it’s the main ingredient in the natural gas that powers heating, cooking, and electricity. It’s...

NASA Technology

The drones are coming for us all—and that’s a good thing. While unmanned, remote-controlled, or programmed flight is not new, it is becoming increasingly...

NASA Technology

On the night of April 20, 2010, a flow of oil, gas, and mud erupted onto the floor of the Deepwater Horizon drilling vessel from the oil well below. As...

NASA Technology

Self-piloted drone traffic may be just over the horizon, metaphorically speaking, but for now, vehicles cannot legally fly beyond the operator’s line of...

NASA Technology

Oxygen, which comprises just over a fifth of Earth’s atmosphere, is highly reactive and able to form compounds with nearly all other elements. Heat facilitates...

NASA Technology

Since the invention of lasers in 1960, engineers have found countless ways to create these coherent, monochromatic beams of light and...

NASA Technology

A New Zealand-based company’s work to help astronauts fight fires in case of an anomaly on the Orion spacecraft is already informing its line...

Spinoff: Public Safety
Gas Regulators Keep Pilots Breathing

NASA Technology

In 1962, John Glenn hurtled around Earth at speeds that exceeded 17,000 mph, managing three orbits before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean. In all, his historic...

NASA Technology

Moving slowly and deliberately, the robot picked its way over a pile of cinder blocks, testing and often reconsidering every step of its four black, tubular limbs,...

NASA Technology

When trying to solve a tough problem, it’s not unusual for engineers to turn to nature for a solution.

NASA Technology

Steadying an undulating putting green or a wandering computer cursor with your mind alone might sound far-fetched, but NASA has had this technology for...

NASA Technology

In the 1960s, NASA used a network of radio telescopes and a technique called very large baseline interferometry (VLBI) to capture images of quasars in...

NASA Technology

In Chris McKay’s search for signs of life on other worlds, some of the strongest clues can be found by identifying isotopes.

NASA Technology

What do naval anti-missile guns, infant incubators, the Phoenix Mars lander, and high-end paintball guns have in common? All these...

NASA Technology

When the White House calls, NASA answers.

NASA Technology

Late on a sweltering morning in July 2016, David Lewis Jr. crawls into a concrete tube in a heap of rubble amid what used to be a Northern Virginia prison...

NASA Technology

On July 7, 2011, as Space Shuttle Atlantis sat on the launch pad just one day before it was due to make the final voyage of NASA’s 30-year Shuttle program,...

NASA Technology

When a plane overshoots the final approach for a landing, often the pilot’s natural—and dangerous—instinct is to pitch up the aircraft to slow down and...

NASA Technology

“Where does a 600-pound spider go? Anywhere she wants to.”

NASA Technology

It’s a safe bet that the skies of the future will be hosting a lot more drones than they do today. If you can see beyond the low-flying pizza and...

NASA Technology

To simulate weightlessness while rehearsing for NASA’s 1966 Gemini 12 mission, astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Gene Cernan practiced spacewalks...

NASA Technology

Rocket launches—or earthquakes—are already punishing experiences. But it turns out there are some things that can make them worse: like if the vibrations hit the...

NASA Technology

Sensors originally designed to predict failures in a helicopter transmission have found an unexpected use detecting problems in train tracks. When...

NASA Technology

More than a billion people around the world lack easy access to clean water—some trek for miles just to fill jugs for themselves and their...

NASA Technology

Parachute deployment is usually a fairly simple—if crucial—operation. A small pilot parachute tossed into the wind might pull free a pin securing...

NASA Technology

As its name implies, the Curiosity rover lowered into Gale Crater on Mars by sky crane in August 2012 has a lot of questions to answer. The most pressing,...

NASA Technology

One common hazard facing airplanes is ice: not just on the ground, but in the air, where it can coat wings or engines. But how do you know when icing...

NASA Technology

In the American Southwest and in northwestern Mexico, more than half the annual rainfall often comes in the form of the torrential and unpredictable...

NASA Technology

When NASA builds a spacecraft, materials engineers at the Agency have the important task of assessing the structural properties of the materials that comprise...

NASA Technology

From the Apollo missions through the Space Shuttle Program, NASA has relied on liquid hydrogen as a fuel source for the upper stages of its rocket launches. The reason...