Glenn Research Center has combined state-of-the-art electrical designs with complex, computer-aided analyses to develop some of today’s most advanced power systems, in space and on Earth. The center’s Power and On-Board Propulsion Technology Division is the brain behind many of these power systems....

Each space shuttle orbiter has 38 Primary Reaction Control System (PRCS) thrusters to help power and position the vehicle for maneuvers in space, including reentry and establishing Earth orbit. Minor flaws in the ceramic lining of a thruster, such as a chip or crack, can cripple the operations...

Copper is the most widely used electrical conductor. Like most metals, though, it has several drawbacks: it is heavy, expensive, and can break. Fibers that conduct electricity could be the solutions to these problems, and they are of great interest to NASA.

In 1928, Alexander Fleming, a young Scottish scientist with a side practice of discretely treating the syphilis infections of prominent Londoners, was researching agents that could be used to combat such bacterial infections. He left his practice for a 2-week vacation, inadvertently leaving several bacterial culture plates...

Like the environment of space, the undersea world is a hostile, alien place for humans to live. But far beneath the waves near Key Largo, Florida, an underwater laboratory called Aquarius provides a safe harbor for scientists to live and work for weeks at a time.

By mid-1963, American astronauts had visited space on six different occasions, all as part of NASA’s first human space flight program, the Mercury Program . During the final Mercury mission, launched on May 15, 1963, astronaut Leroy Gordon Cooper logged 34 hours in orbit, the longest...

To work in NASA’s Mission Control Center and share in the excitement of seeing the very first close-up images of Saturn being piped back to Earth (from the Pioneer 11 spacecraft in 1979) is not a sensation that most high school students get to experience. However, as part of an internship in ...

NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) acquires, archives, and manages data from all of NASA’s Earth science satellites, for the benefit of the Space Agency and...

As NASA's lead center for creating robotic spacecraft and rovers, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) builds smart machines that can perform very complicated task far, far away from the homeland.

Scientists at work in the Planetary Protection division at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) sterilize everything before blasting it to the Red Planet. They take great pains to ensure that all spacecraft are void of bacterial life, especially the microscopic bacteria that can...

Contrary to popular misconception, lightning often strikes the same place twice. Certain conditions are just ripe for a bolt of electricity to come zapping down; and a lightning strike is powerful enough to do a lot of damage wherever it hits. NASA created the Accurate Location of Lightning Strikes technology to...

Attempting to locate a malfunctioning wire in a complex bundle of wires or in a cable that is concealed behind a wall is as difficult as trying to find a needle in a haystack. The result of such an effort can also be costly, time-consuming, and frustrating, whether it is the tedious...

When NASA needed help better securing its communications with orbiting satellites, the Agency called on Western DataCom Co., Inc., to help develop a prototype Internet Protocol (IP) router.

Advanced chemical sensors are used in aeronautic and space applications to provide safety monitoring, emission monitoring, and fire detection. In order to fully do their jobs, these sensors must be able to operate in a range of environments. NASA has developed sensor technologies...

If it were 50 years ago, NASA's contribution to rock and roll could have been more than just the all-astronaut rock band, Max Q, composed of six NASA astronauts, all of whom have flown aboard the Space Shuttle. If it were 50 years ago, a new NASA spinoff technology, Synthetic Vision, would likely have been able to prevent...

NASA's Plum Brook Station, a 6,400-acre, remote test installation site for Glenn Research Center, houses unique, world-class test facilities, including the world's largest space environment simulation chamber and the world's only laboratory capable of full-scale rocket engine firings and launch vehicle...

Wake vortices are generated by all aircraft during flight. The larger the aircraft, the stronger the wake, so the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) separates aircraft to ensure wake turbulence has no effect on approaching aircraft. Currently, though, the time between planes is often larger...

NASA's Langley Research Center scientists developed a family of catalysts for low- temperature oxidation of carbon monoxide and other gases. The catalysts provide oxidation of both carbon monoxide and formaldehyde at room temperature without requiring any energy input, just a suitable flow of gas through them.

Who's to say that a little light can't go a long way? Tiny light-emitting diode (LED) chips used to grow plants in space are lighting the way for cancer treatment, wound healing, and chronic pain alleviation on Earth.

With the Vision for Space Exploration calling for a sustained human presence in space, astronauts will need to grow plants, while in orbit, for nourishment that they will not receive from only consuming dehydrated foods. As a potential source of food for long-duration missions, space-grown plants could...

Space is a hostile environment where astronauts combat extreme temperatures, dangerous radiation, and a near-breathless vacuum. Life support in these unforgiving circumstances is crucial and complex, and failure is not an option for the devices meant to keep astronauts safe in an environment that presents constant opposition. A...

It is well past quitting time, but you are still stuck in the office. Your spouse left work over an hour ago, but is caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic. As a result, neither of you were available to pick up your daughter on time from her soccer game. If your son hadn't gotten detention at school today which...

Since its dawning days, NASA has been at the forefront of developing and improving materials for aerospace applications. In particular, NASA requires dramatic advancements in material properties to enhance the performance, robustness, and reliability of its launch vehicles, spacecraft, and...

Astronauts cannot live on dehydrated ice cream alone. Like everyone else, they need their vegetables. Enter VEGGIE, the Deployable Vegetable System, currently under development by Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC). VEGGIE is the latest in a long line of vegetable production units ORBITEC is...

Piezoelectric materials convert mechanical energy into electrical energy and electrical energy into mechanical energy. They generate electrical charges in response to mechanical stress and generate mechanical displacement and/or force when subjected to an electric current.

The most recognized and widely used NASA spinoff is at it again. Temper foam, whose origins date back to 1966 when it was developed to absorb shock and, thus, offer improved protection and comfort in NASA's airplane seats, has paid its dividends to Earth repeatedly, and in many different ways....

In the mid-1950s, a young U.S. Air Force engineer named Clark Beck began work with what is now one of NASA's most prolific spinoffs, the radiant barrier technology. Beck's work involved creating materials that could withstand the immense heat created by passage through the Earth's atmosphere. He...

Every angler has his secrets, whether it be an old family recipe for stink bait, a midnight worm-hunting ritual, or the most coveted of all, the no-fail fishing hole. Most of these secrets are lore and legend, passed through generations, and coveted more than the family's best tableware. Each of these kernels of...

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

On July 20, 1969, millions were glued to their television sets when NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong offered these famous words via live broadcast, upon becoming the first man to ever step foot on the Moon.

In the 1990s, NASA pioneered virtual reality research. The concept was present long before, but, prior to this, the technology did not exist to make a viable virtual reality system. Scientists had theories and ideas they knew that the concept had potential but the computers of the 1970s and...