NASA Technology

If you wandered the halls of Johnson Space Center in the mid-1990s, you might have run across Mike Johnson lugging a large container of freshly collected urine down to the lab. There, Johnson assisted the scientists who were tasked with developing...

NASA Technology

The astronaut’s life and work is so different from our own daily experiences that it’s easy to forget that astronauts are people, too. Just like everyone else, astronauts have basic nutritional needs—such as five to nine servings of fruit and vegetables...

NASA Technology

Before Curiosity came the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. Before Spirit and Opportunity came Pathfinder and Sojourner. Before Pathfinder and Sojourner, the Mars Global Surveyor, and before the Mars Global Surveyor, the Viking landers. Over the years,...

NASA Technology

You wouldn’t find a big bowl of spaghetti served on the International Space Station (ISS). In microgravity, it would be a complete mess. There is, however, something like spaghetti on the ISS: the wires that connect electrodes for an...

NASA Technology

One of the main components of NASA’s vision for the future of space exploration will actually have a keen eye for the past. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), scheduled to launch in 2018, will have spectacular sight—after it reaches orbit,...

NASA Technology

The future looks bright, light, and green—especially where aircraft are concerned. The division of NASA’s Fundamental Aeronautics Program called the Subsonic Fixed Wing Project is aiming to reach new heights by 2025–2035, improving the efficiency...

NASA Technology

In the winter of 2009, Washington, DC, workers faced the prospect of a difficult commute due to record-setting snowfalls. But thousands of the city’s Metrorail riders found the public transportation system fully functional, thanks in part to a NASA technology...

NASA Technology

Successfully building, flying, and maintaining the space shuttles was an immensely complex job that required a high level of detailed, precise engineering. After each shuttle landed, it entered a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) phase. Each system...

NASA Technology

The rotors of certain helicopters can spin at speeds as high as 500 revolutions per minute. As the blades slice through the air, they flex, moving into the wind and back out, experiencing pressure changes on the order of thousands of times a second...

NASA Technology

For 6 years prior to the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program, the shuttles carried an onboard repair kit with a tool for emergency use: two tubes of NOAX, or “good goo,” as some people called it. NOAX flew on all 22 flights following the Columbia...

NASA Technology

Helicopters present many advantages over fixed-wing aircraft: they can take off from and land in tight spots, they can move in any direction with relative ease, and they can hover in one area for extended periods of time. But that maneuverability comes...

NASA Technology

In 1990, NASA grounded its space shuttle fleet. The reason: leaks detected in the hydrogen fuel systems of the Space Shuttles Atlantis and Columbia. Unless the sources of the leaks could be identified and fixed, the shuttles would not be safe to...

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.