NASA Technology

Pedro Medelius waited patiently in his lab at Kennedy Space Center. He had just received word that a colleague was bringing over a cable from a Space Shuttle solid rocket booster to test Medelius’ new invention. Medelius was calm until his...

NASA Technology

Shortly before midnight on September 21st, 2010, the small fishing boat Ebby Luz started taking on water. In immediate danger and 8 miles from the shore, its crew activated an emergency beacon that began transmitting their distress signal, identity, and...

NASA Technology

Alongside the tragedies that are part of the history of human spaceflight, bittersweet lessons have been learned. These lessons have not only taught us about the extreme requirements of space travel; they have taught us how to live more safely on Earth.

NASA Technology

Terra. Aqua. Cloudsat. Landsat. NASA runs and partners in many missions dedicated to monitoring the Earth, and the tools used in these missions continuously return data on everything from shifts in temperature to cloud formation to pollution levels...

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...

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...

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.

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...

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...

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,...

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...

When engineers explore designs for safer, more fuel efficient, or faster aircraft, they encounter a common problem: they never know exactly what will happen until the vehicle gets off the ground.

NASA Technology

In 2008, a NASA effort to standardize its websites inspired a breakthrough in cloud computing technology. The innovation has spurred the growth of an entire industry in open source cloud services that has already attracted millions in investment and is...

NASA Technology

Several years ago, NASA started making plans to send robots to explore the deep, dark craters on the Moon. As part of these plans, NASA needed modeling tools to help engineer unique electronics to withstand extremely cold temperatures.

NASA Technology

“Space weather” is a term more frequently used as solar storms and flares are closely monitored and analyzed for the impact they might have on Earth. Blasts of radiation, if strong enough, can make their presence felt by temporarily shutting down...

NASA Technology

The Drilling Automation for Mars Exploration (DAME) project was designed to unearth the secrets of Mars—literally. The project’s engineers designed a light, low-power drill to penetrate into the Martian surface and return clues about the Red...

NASA Technology

The Moon hosts perhaps the most fascinating museum that no one ever visits. From reflectometers to space boots, the lunar module’s descent stage, and the famous first footprints left behind by Neil Armstrong, the Apollo 11 mission alone left over...

NASA Technology

The space shuttle engines changed drastically from the drawing board to the launch pad. The engine—and each of its intricate parts—required extensive testing...

NASA Technology

At an altitude of about 240 miles, its orbital path carries it over 90 percent of the Earth’s population. It circles the Earth in continuous free fall; its...

NASA Technology

If the wings of a plane could talk about what they feel during flight, what would they say? Engineers at Dryden Flight Research Center are beginning to find out.

NASA Technology

Aging aircraft are an increasing concern at the national level. Commercial and government vehicles are being flown past their originally intended service life in order...

NASA Technology

After taking off her shoes and jacket, she places them in a bin. She then takes her laptop out of its case and places it in a separate bin. As the items move...

NASA Technology

Back in 1972, Anne St. Clair worked side by side with Langley Research Center colleague Vernon Bell as part of NASA’s research and development efforts to...

NASA Technology

Over the last decade, there have been a number of innovations that have made possible the largest and most powerful telescope of its time: the James Webb...