Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Experiments With Small Animals Rarely Go This Well

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...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
NASA, the Fisherman's Friend

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...

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Crystal-Clear Communication a Sweet-Sounding Success

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.

Spinoff: Consumer, Home, and Recreation
Inertial Motion-Tracking Technology for Virtual 3-D

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...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Then Why Do They Call Earth the Blue Planet?

While the most common photographs of Earth taken from space show the planet covered in blue water, NASA has managed to produce detailed color images, using satellite imagery, that show the remarkable variation of colors that actually make up the oceanic surface. An ocean's color is determined by the...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Valiant Zero-Valent Effort Restores Contaminated Grounds

Dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs) are chemical compounds that can contaminate soil and groundwater to the point of irreparability. These substances are only slightly soluble in water, and are much denser than water. Because of their solubility, DNAPLs form separate liquid phases in...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Harnessing the Power of the Sun

The Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology (ERAST) Alliance was created in 1994 and operated for 9 years as a NASA-sponsored coalition of 28 members from small companies, government, universities, and nonprofit organizations. ERAST's goal was to foster development of remotely piloted aircraft...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Water and Air Measures That Make PureSense

Each day, we read about mounting global concerns regarding the ability to sustain supplies of clean water and to reduce air contamination. With water and air serving as life's most vital elements, it is important to know when these environmental necessities may be contaminated, in order to eliminate...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Remote Sensing for Farmers and Flood Watching

The Applied Sciences Directorate, part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, makes use of the Agency's remote-sensing capabilities to acquire detailed information about our home planet. It uses this information for a variety of purposes, ranging from increasing agricultural efficiency to protecting...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Pesticide-Free Device a Fatal Attraction for Mosquitoes

Are those pesky mosquitoes getting more entertainment out of your family picnic than you are? If the answer is yes, then it is time to reclaim your backyard with assistance from an unlikely partner.

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Making the Most of Waste Energy

The Thermo-Mechanical Systems Branch at NASA's Glenn Research Center is responsible for planning and conducting research efforts to advance thermal systems for space, aerospace, and non-aerospace applications. Technological areas pertain to solar and thermal energy conversion. For example, thermo-mechanical...

Spinoff: Environmental and Agricultural Resources
Washing Away the Worries About Germs

Fresh fruits and vegetables have been in demand by orbiting astronauts since the early days of the Space Shuttle. As one can imagine, however, oranges, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and other fresh items can provide a cornucopia of smells in a closed environment such as the Space Shuttle or the International...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Celestial Software Scratches More Than the Surface

While NASA is preparing to send humans back to the Moon by 2020 and then eventually to Mars, the average person can explore the landscapes of these celestial bodies much sooner, without the risk and training and without even leaving the comfort of home.

Spinoff: Computer Technology
A Search Engine That's Aware of Your Needs

Internet research can be compared to trying to drink from a firehose. Such a wealth of information is available that even the simplest inquiry can sometimes generate tens of thousands of leads, more information than most people can handle, and more burdensome than most can endure.

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Fault-Detection Tool Has Companies Mining Own Business

A successful launching of NASA's Space Shuttle hinges heavily on the three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) that power the orbiter. These critical components must be monitored in real time, with sensors, and compared against expected behaviors that could scrub a launch or, even worse, cause...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Software to Manage the Unmanageable

In 1995, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) contracted Redmond, Washington-based Lucidoc Corporation, to design a technology infrastructure to automate the intersection between policy management and operations management with advanced software that automates document workflow, document status, and...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Tracking Electromagnetic Energy With SQUIDs

A superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) is a gadget used to measure extremely weak signals, specifically magnetic flux. It can detect subtle changes in energy, up to 100 billion times weaker than the electromagnetic energy required to move a compass needle. SQUIDs are used for a variety...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Taking the Risk Out of Risk Assessment

The ability to understand risks and have the right strategies in place when risky events occur is essential in the workplace. More and more organizations are being confronted with concerns over how to measure their risks or what kind of risks they can take when certain events transpire that could have a...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Satellite and Ground System Solutions at Your Fingertips

In the summer of 1998, the blockbuster action movie Armageddon captivated audiences with a thrilling doomsday plot about a meteor the size of Texas that was racing towards the Earth. Though the premise of the movie was purely fictional, the unfortunate reality is that near-Earth...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Structural Analysis Made NESSUSary

Everywhere you look, chances are something that was designed and tested by a computer will be in plain view. Computers are now utilized to design and test just about everything imaginable, from automobiles and airplanes to bridges and boats, and elevators and escalators to streets and skyscrapers.

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Software of Seismic Proportions Promotes Enjoyable Learning

While working for NASA, Jack Sculley and Terry Brooks had a revelation. They wanted to find a novel and unique way to present the scientific principles of NASA research to the public, so as to not only enlighten, but entertain. Suddenly, their revelation morphed into something even...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Making a Reliable Actuator Faster and More Affordable

Before any rocket is allowed to fly and be used for a manned mission, it is first test-fired on a static test stand to verify its flight readiness. NASA's Stennis Space Center provides testing of Space Shuttle Main Engines, rocket propulsion systems, and related components with several test...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Cost-Cutting Powdered Lubricant

Scientists at NASA's Glenn Research Center developed a high-temperature, solid lubricant coating material that is saving the manufacturing industry millions of dollars. The material came out of 3 decades of tribological research, work studying high-temperature friction, lubrication, and the wearing of interacting...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
NASA's Radio Frequency Bolt Monitor: A Lifetime of Spinoffs

This story begins in the 1970s, when Dr. Joseph Heyman, a young scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center, was asked to support the investigation of a wind tunnel accident at a sister center. Although the work was outside of his physics background, it sparked a research focus that...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Going End to End to Deliver High-Speed Data

By the end of the 1990s, the optical fiber backbone of the telecommunication and data-communication networks had evolved from megabits-per-second transmission rates to gigabits-per-second transmission rates. Despite this boom in bandwidth, however, users at the end nodes were still not being reached on...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Advanced Joining Technology: Simple, Strong, and Secure

The space-age materials that NASA employs in its spacecraft and satellites have different attributes than the building materials that can work for Earthly uses. These materials do not behave like the typical construction materials, and therefore, require new methods for construction.

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Big Results From a Smaller Gearbox

Many people will be sad to see the Hubble Space Telescope go, as it was the first instrument of its kind to provide us with such a wealth of imagery and information about the galaxy. The telescope has served us well since its launch in spring of 1990, but it is nearly time for its retirement. The science,...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
Low-Pressure Generator Makes Cleanrooms Cleaner

Scientists at NASA's Kennedy Space Center work in cleanrooms: laboratories with high degrees of cleanliness provided by strict control of particles such as dust, lint, or human skin. They are contaminant-free facilities, where the air is repeatedly filtered, and surfaces are smooth to prevent...

Spinoff: Industrial Productivity & Manufacturing Technology
The Space Laser Business Model

Creating long-duration, high-powered lasers, for satellites, that can withstand the type of optical misalignment and damage dished out by the unforgiving environment of space, is work that is unique to NASA. It is complicated, specific work, where each step forward is into uncharted territory.

Spinoff: Health and Medicine
GEARING UP FOR THE BIG GAME AND MORE

Honored as an inductee of the U.S. Space Foundation's Space Technology Hall of Fame and recognized by the American Astronautical Society as “one of the true fathers of the space suit, Bill Elkins spent years conducting extensive research on clothing technology for hostile environments while he served as...