What You Do Not Know About NASA

Anywhere you look around your home it is very likely that at least some of the technology you find has its origins in NASA-related innovations. NASA spinoff technologies are commercial products and services developed in support of NASA through R&D contracts relating to patents, the use of facilities, technical support or data and information. Collective focus on space research and exploration has proceeded to create markets and technological advancements that have truly transformed the lives of many. Here are a few modern-day spinoffs and the value they served in space exploration.




Materials & Manufacturing
Memory (Temper) Foam
A high-energy absorbing material with soft-cushioning texture makes this material a perfect choice for the interior of space vehicles. The foam design helps to withstand compression and supports with crash protection of pilots. Now can be seen used for domestic application including but not limited to wall insulations, topping mattresses, cushioning helmets and seats. 
 
Powder Lubricants  
A solid-state lubricant composed of particles, thin films, coatings, and bulk materials which help to minimalize friction and wear of two contacts and coupling surfaces. This is especially important as an oil-free alternative as the powder states meets specifications on properties relating to flexibility at different temperatures, being a low weight carry and offering protection support to aircraft technology. Now seen in action inside turbo-machinery such as fridges and turbochargers as a protective coating to oil bearings.
 
Computer programs
Structural analysis programs
A vast library of software and programmes designed to control and test the functions and parameters of spacecraft models and new developments. NASTRAN is a notable example of a success now applied in the framework engineering roller-coaster, vehicles and automated robotic technology, to list a few. The multidisciplinary structural analysis programme is used by engineers for structural assembly modelling, automated structural optimisation and high-performance computing of technologies.
 
Embedded Web Technology (ETW) software
ETW came about from the merge of the embedded systems and the world wide web. It was developed to enable the connection between client and server systems across different hardware and software platforms. Space explorers could connect space stations from remote locations well from a web browser that was running from a personal computer. This software has been further adapted for data transfer between systems and can be seen in the emergence of digital devices such as ovens, fridges and technologies.
 
Satellite Search and Rescue
Search and Rescue (SAR)
This technological development has been brought about for motion detection and surveillance of celestial bodies in space. It has now been integrated for satellite-aided search and rescue capability to save people in distress and to reduce the risk of rescuers from air, sea or land. To mention a few case studies of prototypes and systems:
 
FINDER 'Finding Individuals for Disasters & Emergency Response'
A tool developed from the collaboration between NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate to help find the survivors of a natural disaster. FINDER works by detecting small changes in a person's heart rate and breathing. It is best complemented beside other search methods like canines, cameras and listening devices.

DASS - 'Distress Altering Satellite Systems'  
Another tool from the collaboration between NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre and several space agencies. It is designed to help in search and rescue missions by instantaneously detecting and locating distress signals from beacons integrated to aircraft and vessels or from individuals. DASS formerly served a purpose in the design of weather satellites and geostationary orbits.
 

Intensive Care Units
Intensive Care Monitors
Originally brought about to find out more on monitoring astronauts and measuring health parameters on space missions including heart rate monitor, blood pressure and blood flow monitoring before flights. Now adapted and used by medical clinics inside their heart rehabilitation wards. ICM has saved the lives of countless people by careful monitoring of body physiology.
 
MRI Technology
In the mid-1960s, Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed a better strategy to capture high definition images of the moon. They discovered digital image processing which allows computers to modify pictures taken of the moon. This digital processing technique now offers modern-day value in the field of medicine to create and enhance diagnostic images taken of the body. Although not invented by NASA, they still helped form the foundations of MRI and CT scans.
 
Micro-electromechanical technology
MEMS 'Microelectromechanical systems'
Characteristic small-sized machines a similar size to integrated circuit chips that measure between 1-100 micrometres. Developed by Evigia Systems, they are components that help to enhance signals between peers satellites. It also offers functionality for accelerometers of prognostic sensors that are designed to track the conditions of industrial machinery including vibration, temperature, mechanical shock etc. Now commonly found integrated into digital technologies like printers.
 
Energy and Communication
Harnessing Solar Energy
Photovoltaic cells are solar cells made of semi-conducting materials that convert sunlight into electricity. When sunlight is absorbed, the electrons are get removed and the solar energy gets converted into electrical. The solar arrays might be positioned on the exterior of aircraft vehicles, such as the upper wing surface and relied on for long-duration, high-altitude flights. There have been great strides to piloted aircraft green technology especially in wake of environmental concerns.
 
Video Enhancing & Analysis Systems
Intergraph's Video Analyst System and Video AnalystTM System. Barco Inc are examples of video imaging technology developed by NASA helped to take enhances real-time video for a multiple of different settings. This technology has now been adapted in a multitude of contemporary use ranging from FBI satellite imaging to commercial surveillance applications.

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11 comments:

Kileen said...

That is really interesting to me! I had no idea that NASA was the starting ground for so many awesome and amazing things!

Matt said...

As a kid, we would take field trips to the NASA facility near us. It was so amazing. Probably where my love of space began. So awesome to see them team up with companies like SpaceX.

Shell said...

Wow, that's a cool fact about the MRI technology being developed from NASA. I'd love to go to a facility for a tour. I live pretty close.

Anngelic said...

Oh wow, no I did not know this, and after reading your post it became obvious that I knew very little about NASA :)

Katrina Kroeplin said...

i didn't know some of this. my step son loves NASA, I'll have to show him this.

Hazel☺ said...

Wow this is mind-blowing! I didn't know many technologies we have today is all thanks to NASA :) Especially MRI and ICU! Thanks for sharing this!

Blair Villanueva said...

I don't know much about NASA rather than its main purpose, but it is so cool they got other kinds of technologies. I reckon it is so cool to work in NASA>

Marie at Complete Literature said...

We live 10 minutes from a NASA branch and the tours they give are amazing. They also offer so many internships. There is more there to learn than I ever could!
Your list is huge and well put together. I know it had to take so much time!

GAaica DC San said...

What a very interesting thing to know about NASA. My kids love watching a documentary about this.

emman damian said...

Wow! There's so many things I didn't know about NASA. I wish I can be an astronaut too! So nice!

Ntensibe Edgar said...

"Video Enhancing & Analysis Systems"....wow, I didn't know this started at NASA! It is so good to read about them all.