Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Thermoelectric Devices Advance Thermal Management

When NASA programs need the ultimate reliability to power deep space probes, they repeatedly select thermoelectric (TE) devices as a system component. TE devices heat, cool, and generate electricity when a temperature differential is provided between the two module faces. Using radioactive...

Spinoff: Health and Medicine
Ingestible Thermometer Pill Aids Athletes in Beating the Heat

From the football turf to high above the Earth, heat exhaustion is a life-threatening concern. Heat exhaustion, or hyperthermia, is an acute condition caused by excessive exposure to heat and dehydration. ...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Modern Exploration of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

One of the forces that propels scientific and cultural advancement is exploration. The mission of NASA is to pioneer the future of space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research. Through this...

Spinoff: Transportation
Damage-Tolerant Fan Casings for Jet Engines

All turbofan engines work on the same principle. A large fan at the front of the engine draws air in. A portion of the air enters the compressor, but a greater portion passes on the outside of the engine—this is called bypass air. The air that enters the compressor then passes through several...

Spinoff: Transportation
Steering Aircraft Clear of Choppy Air

On December 28, 1997, a United Airlines plane flying from Japan to Hawaii experienced severe turbulence while over the West Pacific Ocean. Over 100 individuals on this flight of 374 passengers and 19 flight crew members were injured during the encounter, one fatally. Investigative reports issued following...

Spinoff: Transportation
Advanced Air Data Systems for Commercial Aircraft

It is possible to get a crude estimate of wind speed and direction while driving a car at night in the rain, with the motion of the raindrop reflections in the headlights providing clues about the wind. The clues are difficult to interpret, though, because of the relative motions of ground, car,...

Spinoff: Transportation
NASA Helps Design the "Cockpit of the Future"

Langley Research Center conducts research in support of all of the aeronautics project at NASA. It continues to forge new frontiers in aviation research, as it has since 1917, when it was established as the Nation's first civilian aeronautics laboratory. Langley's mission and contributions to...

Spinoff: Public Safety
Water Vapor Sensors Go Sky-High to Assure Aircraft Safety

A laser diode is a semiconductor-based laser used to generate analog signals or digital pulses for transmission through optical fibers or through open air. In simpler terms, it is the type of laser that scans the barcode of a product to determine its price or reads the information stored...

Spinoff: Public Safety
Clean Water for Remote Locations

Water is indispensable for human health and well-being. A person cannot live for more than a few days without clean, drinkable water. It is, therefore, one of the most crucial provisions astronauts need to live and work in space, whether orbiting Earth, working at a lunar base, or traveling to Mars.

Spinoff: Public Safety
Fire-Resistant Reinforcement Makes Steel Structures Sturdier

In preparing to send man to the Moon in the 1960s, no detail was too small for NASA to consider when it came to ensuring that humans and their transporting spacecraft could withstand the powerful thrust of a launch, the harsh and unforgiving conditions of space, and the extremely high...

Spinoff: Public Safety
Feeling Well Rested and Wide Awake When it Counts

Responding to a congressional concern about aviation safety, NASA's Ames Research Center created the Ames Fatigue/Jet Lag Program in 1980 to examine the extent to which fatigue, sleep loss, and circadian disruption affect pilot performance. The program's primary research was conducted in field...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
X-ray Device Makes Scrubbing Rugs Clean a Spotless Effort

If "pulling the rug out from under" means suddenly withdrawing support and assistance, then NASA is pretty good at "putting the rug under" when it comes to offering technical support and assistance to private industry. In the case of a new X-ray fluorescence (XRF) sensor featuring...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
A Match Made in Space

Just before the space shuttle reaches orbit, its three main engines shut down so that it can achieve separation from the massive external tank that provided the fuel required for liftoff and ascent. In jettisoning the external tank—which is completely devoid of fuel at this point in the flight—the space...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Affordable Space Tourism: SpaceStationSim

For over 5 years, people have been living and working in space on the International Space Station (ISS), a state-of-the-art laboratory complex orbiting high above the Earth. Offering a large, sustained microgravity environment that cannot be duplicated on Earth, the ISS furthers humankind's knowledge of...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Preventing Ice Before it Forms

NASA has always been on the cutting edge of aviation safety research, though many of the technologies the Agency develops also find practical application in ground transportation safety. One of the most prominent examples of this type of technology transfer is the grooved pavement developed by NASA in the early...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Microspheres in Plasma Display Panels

NASA does things that have never been done before—sending spacecraft to other planets, sending people to the Moon, and exploring the limits of the universe. To accomplish these scientific missions, engineers at work within the Space Agency build machines and equipment that have never been made...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Look Sharp While Seeing Sharp

While fashion styles are known to come and go, a certain 'shade' from the past has proved otherwise.

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Raised Relief Mars Globe Brings the Red Planet Closer

When the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) entered the Red Planet's atmosphere in March 2006, it joined the ranks of other noble explorers studying the planet over the past 2,000-plus years. This new NASA orbiter will study the Martian atmosphere and surface, and probe underground in search...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Reflecting on Space Benefits: A Shining Example

NASA has long been known for having developed the thin, shiny reflective material used to insulate everything from the Hubble Space Telescope to hikers, from the Mars rovers to marathon runners, from computers to campers, from satellites to sun shields, and from rockets to residences. It is one of...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
PRP: The Proven Solution for Cleaning Up Oil Spills

The Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker exporting millions of gallons of oil, ran aground just after midnight on March 24, 1989 in Alaska, creating what is, to this day, the worst environmental disaster in American history. The affected area of coastal Alaska continues to feel the toxic results of that...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Progressive Plant Growing Has Business Blooming

Soil, water, and light. According to prevailing dogma, these are the three main ingredients for growing and maintaining healthy plants. But what if you take soil completely out of the equation and limit the presence of water significantly? Can you still nurture plants in such an...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
FLIPPER: Validation for Remote Ocean Imaging

In order to better understand our solar system and the ways it supports life, scientists and researchers at NASA study the planets. Of course, one of the planets on which NASA focuses most of its research is the Blue Planet, Earth, since this is the only one currently known to support life; and it is...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Paper-Thin Plastic Film Soaks Up Sun to Create Solar Energy

A solar cell is a semiconductor device that converts photons, or light, into electricity. The most widely used solar cells today are made from wafers of mono- or poly-crystalline silicon.

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Saving Space and Time: The Tractor That Einstein Built

In 1984, NASA initiated the Gravity Probe B (GP-B) program to test two unverified predictions of Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity—hypotheses about the ways space, time, light, and gravity relate to each other. To test these predictions, the Space Agency and researchers...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
A Predictive Approach to Eliminating Errors in Software Code

NASA's Metrics Data Program Data Repository is a database that stores problem, product, and metrics data. The primary goal of this data repository is to provide project data to the software community. In doing so, the Metrics Data Program collects artifacts from a large NASA...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Scheduling Software for Complex Scenarios

Preparing a vehicle and its payload for a single launch is a complex process that involves thousands of operations. Because the equipment and facilities required to carry out these operations are extremely expensive and limited in number, optimal assignment and efficient use are critically important....

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Difficult Decisions Made Easier

NASA missions are extremely complex and prone to sudden, catastrophic failure if equipment falters or if an unforeseen event occurs. For these reasons, NASA trains to expect the unexpected. It tests its equipment and systems in extreme conditions, and it develops risk-analysis tests to foresee any possible...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Difficult Decisions Made Easier

NASA missions are extremely complex and prone to sudden, catastrophic failure if equipment falters or if an unforeseen event occurs. For these reasons, NASA trains to expect the unexpected. It tests its equipment and systems in extreme conditions, and it develops risk-analysis tests to foresee any possible...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
GPS Eye-in-the-Sky Software Takes Closer Look Below

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite navigation system developed and maintained by the U.S. Government. Though initially designed for military applications, GPS is also a public information service that protects the environment, improves productivity, and increases safety. It can...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
A History of High-Performance Computing

Faster than most speedy computers. More powerful than its NASA data-processing predecessors. Able to leap large, mission-related computational problems in a single bound. Clearly, it’s neither a bird nor a plane, nor does it need to don a red cape, because it’s super in its own way. It’s Columbia,...