Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What Has NASA Done For You, Part 3

And the list just keeps going.

Automotive Insulation- Materials from the space shuttle thermal protection system are used on NASCAR racing cars to protect drivers from the extreme heat generated by the engines.

Balance Evaluation Systems - Devices built to measure the equilibrium of space shuttle astronauts when they return from space are widely used by major medical centers to diagnose and treat patients suffering head injury, stroke, chronic dizziness and central nervous system disorders.

Bioreactor - Developed for space shuttle medical research, this rotating cell culture apparatus simulates some aspects of the space environment, or microgravity, on the ground. Tissue samples grown in the bioreactor are being used to design therapeutic drugs and antibodies. Some scientists believe the bioreactor will routinely produce human tissue for research and transplantation.

Diagnostic Instrument - NASA technology was used to create a compact laboratory instrument for hospitals and doctor offices that more quickly analyzes blood, accomplishing in 30 seconds what once took 20 minutes.

Gas Detector - A gas leak detection system, originally developed to monitor the shuttle's hydrogen propulsion system, is being used by the Ford Motor Company in the production of a natural gas-powered car.

Infrared Camera - A sensitive infrared hand-held camera that observes the blazing plumes from the Shuttle also is capable of scanning for fires. During the brush fires that ravaged Malibu, CA in 1996, the camera was used to point out hot spots for firefighters.

Infrared Thermometer - Infrared sensors developed to remotely measure the temperature of distant stars and planets, led to the development of the hand-held optical sensor thermometer. Placed inside the ear canal, the thermometer provides an accurate reading in two seconds or less.

Tomorrow, the exciting conclusion. :-)

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