NASA has a long history of transferring technologies from their original mission applications to secondary uses right here on Earth.
Every year the agency publishes, Spinoffs, an in-depth look at those space technologies that have been adapted to improve health and medicine, transportation, public safety, consumer goods, energy and environment, information technology and industrial productivity.
“Technology transfer is the agency’s oldest continuously operated mission, but our work is ongoing and of continuing significance,” said NASA Chief Technologist David Miller.
“Today there are many new technologies being developed at NASA, and we are hard at work accelerating the rate at which they end up in the hands of companies and organizations that can put them to use in spinoff applications.”
Included in Spinoffs 2016 technologies that have found there way to civilian uses are a commercial kiln that turns waste plastic into useful petroleum products; G-suits used to help pilots and astronauts withstand extreme acceleration have been adapted to save women suffering from postpartum haemorrhage; a system designed to transform the Martian atmosphere into rocket fuel is helping microbreweries recapture carbon dioxide and carbonate their beer.
It also discusses how NASA research on bone strength in microgravity has helped develop a new treatment for osteoporosis, and software that uses satellite data to help stabilise global food prices by tracking and predicting rice crop yields.
The book also includes a section, “Spinoffs of Tomorrow,” that highlights 20 technologies ripe for commercial adaptations, including a coating inspired by lotus leaves that protects surfaces from water, dust and contaminants and a battery management system that can inexpensively extend battery life and improve reliability. All are available for licensing and partnership opportunities through NASA’s Technology Transfer Program.
Print and digital versions of Spinoff 2016 are available on the Spinoff website at: http://spinoff.nasa.gov
You can also see videos of some of the innovations on the YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/NASASpinoff
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.