The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the leading government agency responsible for developing science and technology involving the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space.
But when it comes to NASA, many people think of the creation of spacecraft for space travel. A perfect example is the recent launching of Elon Musk’s SpaceX that has stirred the public’s interest in space exploration. However, what many fail to realize is that there’s a lot of different things that the agency does.
NASA has produced some of the technological breakthroughs currently benefiting the whole world. It covers science and technologies not only for the aerospace sector. It also caters to various industries, from health to retail to the online gaming sector.
1. CAT Scans and MRI
Computed tomography (CT) Scans and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) are commonly present in medical settings. These machines allow medical imaging services that help health professionals see the patients’ inner systems. That way, doctors can make proper diagnoses and decide on the right medical treatments.
But did you know that CT scans and MRI didn’t get developed in a laboratory or medical setting? It was NASA that pioneered computer-aided imaging for the moon. It then paved the way for the rise of medical imaging.
NASA was instrumental in the breakthroughs of osteoporosis research. The agency teamed up with the pharmaceutical company known as Amgen. The goal is to study the decline of bone density for space travel.
This collaborative research has provided critical insights into bone health. It led to the manufacturing of Proglia, an FDA-approved drug used to treat osteoporosis. This drug is also beneficial in boosting bone density and fighting off bone tumors.
For the uninitiated, Mylar is a polyester film made from polyethylene terephthalate. It is known for its strength and durability, chemical composition, dimensional stability, transparency, and electrical insulation. It serves as a covering for protective coating and shiny surfaces.
But did you know that NASA invented Mylar in the 1950s? They initially used Myler for proper insulation and protection from the sun’s heat. Today, this material gets utilized in insulating computers and other electronic devices.
4. MicroMed-DeBakery VAD
Today’s modern technologies can go as far as saving lives. For instance, take a medical device keeping a person alive while waiting for a heart transplant. Thanks to MicroMed-DeBakery VAD, this implant can help cardiovascular patients live.
This technology came to life through the collaborative effort between NASA scientists and Dr. Michael DeBakery. It came from the Space Shuttle fuel pump technology. This device works by pumping blood while reducing the stress on the patient’s heart.
5. Air Purifier technology
It is easy to see air purifiers readily available in the market. Many homeowners and property managers invest in these tools to ensure quality air circulation. That way, occupants can enjoy clean air indoors.
Keep in mind, however, that this technology came from NASA. A group of researchers invented a scrubber that turned ethylene into water and carbon dioxide. The scrubber was deemed effective at eliminating airborne pathogens. It eventually led to the development of air purifier technology.
6. Extended Reality (ER)
Extended Realities such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have gradually taken ground. Take the ER technology used in the real estate industry (virtual tours), education sector (online learning), e-commerce (online shopping), and not to mention online gaming.
Keep in mind that NASA scientists first developed advanced human interfaces for their virtual operations. This technology has then led to what we currently call VR. NASA has indeed become instrumental to the ER technology.
7. Space Technologies
Of course, we can’t proceed with NASA innovations without mentioning the space technologies themselves. The agency endeavors to discover science and develop technologies in both the aviation and aerospace industries.
The development of aircraft and spacecraft is a testament to the agency’s commitment to advancing human lives. Currently, NASA has so much to offer, from the Internet of Things (IoT) in aviation to ram products for the aerospace industry. Ultimately, NASA will continue to reach greater heights — beyond Earth and into the vast space.
Within Earth and Beyond the Planet
There’s no denying the position that NASA holds on the planet — and beyond. Take the seven technological innovations mentioned above, from CAT Scans and MRI to MicroMed-DeBakery VAD to Space Technologies.
Various industries are indeed benefiting from this leading government agency in the US. While there’s yet so much work to be done, we can expect more and more technological breakthroughs that NASA has to offer.