Part II: A Viewpoint of Deep Space From our High Desert
As we enter 2016, and sit smugly in front of our big screen TVs enjoying the latest “spinoff” of a comedy show, have you ever wondered how the Earthly industries that create the things around us actually happened to be in our homes?
Have you ever thought about what goes into the items you buy? Did NASA ever spinoff its own stuff? Have you ever wondered “What are those astronaut dudes doing up there anyway?”
Wonder no more. After years of taking a backseat to modern inventions from deep space labs affecting our daily lives, NASA has finally taken an Open and Shared attitude. Tooting its own horn…
What New Inventions and Adaptations From Space Are We Using Today?
Our world has changed by the giant steps of technology since the first man-flights began. Next time you actually remember to get out of your recliner and go stare at the night sky for the current fly-by of the International Space Station, you might think of these:
VEGGIE-GROWING IN SPACE
Zinnia plants from the Veggie ground control experiment at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida were harvested Feb. 11 in the same way that crew member Scott Kelly harvested the zinnias grown in the Veggie system aboard the International Space Station on Feb. 14—Valentine’s Day.
LAND MINE REMOVAL
Rather than blowing things up in war-torn countries and causing huge holes in the ground, The Demining Device flare uses a battery-triggered electric match to ignite and neutralize land mines in the field without detonation. The flare uses solid rocket fuel to burn a hole in the mine’s case and burn away the explosive contents so the mine can be disarmed without hazard. (Spinoff 2000)
Firefighting equipment widely used throughout the United States is based on a NASA development that coupled Agency design expertise with lightweight materials developed for the U.S. Space Program. A project that linked NASA and the National Bureau of Standards resulted in a lightweight breathing system including face mask, frame, harness, and air bottle, using an aluminum composite material developed by NASA for use on rocket casings. (Spinoff 1976)
TEMPER FOAM MATTRESSES
As the result of a program designed to develop a padding concept to improve crash protection for airplane passengers, Ames Research Center developed a foam material with unusual properties. The material is widely used and commonly known as temper foam or “memory foam.” (Spinoff 1996, 2008)
NEW MARKETS SPUR OUR ECONOMY
Space exploration has created new markets and new technologies that have spurred our economy and changed our lives in many ways. This year, NASA unveiled two new complementary interactive Web features, NASA City and NASA @ Home, available at www.nasa.gov/city. The new features highlight how space pervades our lives, invisible yet critical to so many aspects of our daily activities and well-being.
HERE’S SOME OTHER SPACE-TECH ITEMS:
Did you know that many of the things we use today weer first developed by the space lab techs and experiments that became our life-improvements?
Enriched Baby Food, Portable Cordless Vacuums, Harnessing Solar Energy, Refrigerated Internet-Connected Wall Ovens, Improved Radial Tires, Anti-Icing Systems, and Infrared Ear Thermometers, just to name a few.
Did you know that there were 136 Space Shuttle flights where they developed ways to deal with space problems that we never heard of? Those travels also helped scientists in the International Space Station to learn how to transport men and supplies efficiently.
We don’t use shuttles anymore due to other countries taking on the task of moving men and cargo to the International Space Station – we’re looking at Mars, as you know, but the problems of long-term travel in space is a whole other matter.
As we gear up for living on a Mars environment, we are using the Moon to get answers faster. More on that in Part III.
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