Spinoff: Health and Medicine
Hyperspectral Systems Increase Imaging Capabilities

While the human eye can see a range of phenomena in the world, there is a larger range that it cannot see. Without the aid of technology, people are limited to seeing wavelengths of visible light, a tiny range within the electromagnetic spectrum. Hyperspectral imaging,...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Compact Radiometers Expand Climate Knowledge

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...

Spinoff: Transportation
Programs Model the Future of Air Traffic Management

Try describing the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS), and you will inevitably end up rattling off a series of large numbers. There are more than 87,000 flights—commercial, general aviation, military, chartered, cargo—every day; about 5,000 flights in the air at...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Image Sensors Enhance Camera Technologies

Buzz Aldrin standing on the stark surface of the Moon. The towering gas pillars of the Eagle Nebula. The rocky, rust-colored expanses of Mars. Among NASA’s successes in space exploration have been the indelible images the Agency’s efforts have returned to Earth. From the Hubble Space Telescope to the...

Spinoff: Transportation
Tail Rotor Airfoils Stabilize Helicopters, Reduce Noise

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Given the eye-catching nature of space shuttle launches, deep-space imagery, and Mars exploration, it can be easy to forget NASA’s aeronautics efforts, which have a daily impact on life within the bounds of Earth’s atmosphere. Virtually...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Energy Servers Deliver Clean, Affordable Power

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...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Lightweight Material Patches Allow for Quick Repairs

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Here on Earth, if your sink springs a leak, you can call in a plumber, or if you’re handy, you can head out to the local hardware store, buy a few replacement parts, and fix the problem yourself. If the leak isn’t particularly bad, you can...

Spinoff: Transportation
Personal Aircraft Point to the Future of Transportation

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

In the late 1970s, general aviation (GA) in the United States was experiencing its heyday. In 1978, as many as 18,000 GA aircraft were produced. But only 15 years later, the industry was on the verge of collapse, with fewer than 1,000...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Solutions Remediate Contaminated Groundwater

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...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Nanomaterials Transform Hairstyling Tools

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Dr. Dennis Morrison, a former scientist at Johnson Space Center, spent part of his 34-year career with NASA performing research on nanomaterials—materials 10,000 times smaller than a human hair. Specifically, Morrison’s research on nanoceramic...

Spinoff: Transportation
Ducted Fan Designs Lead to Potential New Vehicles

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

From the myth of Icarus, who flew too close to the Sun on wings made of wax, to the designs Leonardo da Vinci drew of flying machines that mirrored the wing patterns of birds, people have always dreamed of personal flight. In 1903, on a cold...

Spinoff: Transportation
Winglets Save Billions of Dollars in Fuel Costs

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Anyone who has made a paper airplane knows that folding the wingtips upward makes your plane look better and fly farther, though the reasons for the latter might be a mystery. The next time you snag a window seat on an airline flight, check out the...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Bacteria Provide Cleanup of Oil Spills, Wastewater

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...

Spinoff: Transportation
Sensor Systems Collect Critical Aerodynamics Data

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

The next time you blow out a candle, watch how the smoke behaves. You will see that it rises first in an even stream. At a certain point, that stream begins to break up into swirls and eddies as the smoke disperses.

Spinoff: Transportation
Coatings Extend Life of Engines and Infrastructure

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Every time a jet engine is started, it goes through a thermal cycle of extreme temperatures, reaching as high as 2,700 °F within the engine’s combustor. Over time, the expansion and contraction of engine parts caused by this cycle lead to...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Reflective Coatings Protect People and Animals

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...

Spinoff: Public Safety
Radiometers Optimize Local Weather Prediction

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

One of the greatest dangers to aircraft—playing a role in numerous destructive and fatal accidents around the world—comes in the form of droplets of water. Clouds are made up of tiny water particles with diameters typically between 10 and 50...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Do-It-Yourself Additives Recharge Auto Air Conditioning

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Even though it drops to -279 °F at night and dips to -400 °F inside its deepest craters, the Moon can reach a scorching 260 °F during the day. The range of temperatures is extreme—in part because there is no substantial atmosphere on the...

Spinoff: Public Safety
Energy-Efficient Systems Eliminate Icing Danger for UAVs

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

One of the more remarkable developments in aviation in recent years has been the increasing deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. Since the invention of the first UAV in 1916, these remotely—or sometimes...

Spinoff: Public Safety
Rocket-Powered Parachutes Rescue Entire Planes

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

When Boris Popov was 8 years old, he took one of his mother’s sheets and some thread, made a parachute, climbed a tree, and jumped. The homemade chute did little to break Popov’s fall; his father took the disappointed boy aside and said, “Son,...

Spinoff: Public Safety
Technologies Advance UAVs for Science, Military

Greek mythology tells of the inventor Daedalus using wings of his own fashioning to escape from imprisonment on the island of Crete. In 1988, a similar adventure was launched, though in this case carbon-fiber composites, gears, and driveshafts featured instead of wax and feathers.

Spinoff: Public Safety
Inflatable Antennas Support Emergency Communication

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Space exploration requires reliable and efficient communication technology. One device currently under development is the inflatable antenna. Due to several unique characteristics—it is lightweight, easy to deploy, inexpensive, and requires low...

Spinoff: Public Safety
Smart Sensors Assess Structural Health

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

The materials used to make airplanes and space shuttles do not last forever. That is why NASA frequently inspects launch vehicles, fuel tanks, crew habitats, and other components for structural damage. The timely and accurate detection of cracks or other...

Spinoff: Public Safety
Hand-Held Devices Detect Explosives and Chemical Agents

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Smaller, with enhanced capabilities. Less expensive, while providing improved performance. Energy efficient, without sacrificing capabilities. Smaller, less expensive, and energy efficient—but still highly durable under some of the most...

Spinoff: Public Safety
Terahertz Tools Advance Imaging for Security, Industry

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

On January 16, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia launched on mission STS-107. At T plus 82 seconds, with the orbiter rocketing upwards at 1,870 miles per hour, a briefcase-sized chunk of insulating foam broke off from the external fuel tank and...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Innovative Techniques Simplify Vibration Analysis

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

As the launch clock counts down, astronauts in the space shuttle prepare for the fastest ride of their lives. More powerful than any plane, train, or automobile, NASA space shuttles boast the world’s most sophisticated rocket engines: three...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Modeling Tools Predict Flow in Fluid Dynamics

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Knowing what will happen before it happens is no easy task. That is why new spacecraft and technology are constantly being tested and refined—including the J-2X engine, which may power the upper stage of future NASA rockets. Data from tests like...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Verification Tools Secure Online Shopping, Banking

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Much is made of the engineering that enables the complex operations of a rover examining the surface of Mars—and rightly so. But even the most advanced robotics are useless if, when the rover rolls out onto the Martian soil, a software glitch...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Toolsets Maintain Health of Complex Systems

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Monitoring the health of a machine can be just as tricky as monitoring the health of a human. Like in the human body, a variety of subsystems must work together for a machine to function properly—and a problem in one area can affect the well-being of...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Framework Resources Multiply Computing Power

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

For the last 25 years, the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division at Ames esearch Center has provided extremely fast supercomputing resources, not only for NASA missions, but for scientific discoveries made outside of NASA as well. The computing...