Space Products & Innovation
Science, Biotechnology, and Health Care
NASA scientists have modified optics technology for a low-cost, high-volume eye screening method using a light-bending technique called photorefraction. NASA transferred the license for the screening technology to the Vision Research Corporation.
Water purification technology designed by NASA for use in space life support systems continues to find terrestrial uses. Umpqua Research received funding from NASA to conduct research on the development of air and water purification technologies for the space missions.
Barrett Technology has collaborated with NASA to develop innovative upgrades to Barrett’s robotic arm technology. The extra funding allowed Barrett to advance the WAM’s (whole arm manipulator) electronics and software for better arm performance and safety.
On October 12, 2008, American Richard Garriott paid $30 million to Space Adventures to travel aboard the Soyuz TMA-13 to the International Space Station as a self-funded spaceflight participant. During his mission, Garriott conducted educational outreach as well as scientific and environmental research.
Remote sensing satellite data is also assisting archaeologists. In early 2008, archaeologists who teamed with NASA scientists over the past five years announced the discovery of five sprawling ancient Mayan sites in Guatemala consisting of hundreds of buildings.
The European Space Agency, in coordination with the Institut de Medecine et de Physiologie Spatiales, is developing a telemedicine solution to improve post-crisis management in areas struck by natural disasters or epidemics.
A collaborative effort between NASA and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) involves using satellite imagery to study and combat disease. Although this type of collaboration has occurred before, the new effort aims to formalize a training program.
VSAT (very small aperture terminal) networks can be used by governments for coordinating electronic voting and telemedicine. Venezuela recently used the Gilat VSAT network in its 2004 elections. Across the globe in India, satellites enable a telemedicine network that connects rural hospitals with specialty centers in major cities to increase the quality of healthcare.
Google Moon, originally released in July 2005, was updated in 2007 with high-resolution imagery from NASA, including images and tours of Apollo landing sites.
A new application of GPS technology is making star-gazing more accessible. The telescope manufacturer Meade’s mySKY handheld digital astrolabe uses a GPS sensor and a magnetic compass to identify celestial objects.