16 May 2008
One of our Nine Good Reasons for Space Exploration that we posted about last month was new technology – NASA programs are constantly pushing technology to its limits, and producing amazing new products in the process! In the post, we linked to a classic list of these so-called “spinoffs”, but NASA has recently put together a slick new way to learn about them.
I’m talking about NASA @ Home and City, a sweet flash (I assume) app with interactive examples of how NASA spinoffs are all around us. My favorite is the portable x-ray device, which I definitely keep sitting around my living room.
The site also has a link to the NASA spinoff archive, where you can get down and dirty with all the gory details.
I was shown this site a few weeks ago, but I was reminded of it today by a piece on NASA Watch about a letter sent by the aerospace industry to Congress pushing for an increase in NASA’s FY09 (“fiscal year 2009” for those not business minded) budget. Here’s a quote from the letter (blatantly stolen from NASA Watch), which reminds us that NASA is one of the few government programs really pushing the technological envelope:
“As leaders of our nation’s largest aerospace and technology companies, we employ hundreds of thousands of Americans and know first hand the formidable challenges in today’s global marketplace. We write to thank you for your past support of NASA and to urge you to enact a top-line increase for NASA’s FY 2009 budget. Without this increase, our nation faces the very real risk of losing our uniquely critical industrial base and human space access capability.”
If NASA isn’t around (or funded) to push technology development, who will? (The answer: DARPA! Now that’s research with a purpose!)