What Technologies do We Have Today Due to the NASA Space Program?

In 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was established for the research and developments concerning the matters of inner and outer space. Basically, it was created to support the project of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’s (NACA) launching of Sputnik or artificial Earth satellite in 1957. It is rooted in the aim of the U.S. 

Congress in 1915, under the sovereignty of the late President John F. Kennedy, to send a man to the moon. Soon, the Apollo mission was successfully launched and declared that astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first one to set foot on the magnificent moon. Despite that, there are still claims criticizing the credibility of Neil’s landing. But until today, there is no strong evidence to break the said treasured history of the U.S. Space project.

Today, the prominence of NASA is worldwide, and it is undeniable when even a seven-year-old boy, Dexter Walters, sent an intent letter about his interest in the Mars expedition. 

Well, NASA is an independent program of the U.S. with over 18,000 civil workers. It is known as the National Library in Space that administers the climate of the Earth as well as the Solar system. To sustain and flourish its programs, it is also affiliated with U.S. contractors, academia, and international and commercial partners. 

NASA has twenty centers in the U.S., and it supports 312,000 labors in the country. With a $23.2 billion budget as of 2021, it helps not just the growth of the projects but the increase of the country’s economy with a contribution of more than $64.3 billion as of 2019. Fair enough and substantial at the same time. 

As given a hint earlier, NASA is evidently the pioneering organization to explore the red planet Mars. In fact, the mission Perseverance Rover was launched on July 30, 2020, and landed on Mars last February 18, 2021. Its goal is to find possible indications of pre-historical existence and samples of rock and regolith. It is continuously under observation on how will the future rovers and aerial explorers work as one. The involved crews on the making of this robot are many to count in hands, and it just proves how the technology of NASA is efficient and essential in the field of space explorations. 

With that, to know what else are the advanced technologies brought by NASA, here are some of them that you might have already heard. But if you still have no ideas of what those are, keep on reading.

FINDER

Satellite Orbiting Earth

Rescuing lives is not an easy task, especially when it’s post-disaster and the aftermath is quite heavy. The Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response (FINDER) was created by the joint force of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate. By the licensure of the California Institute of Technology of FINDER to R4 Incorporated, the radar has been able to bring in Nepal. It was when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook the country, and there, the FINDER executed its capability to find buried individuals until twenty feet deep. 

FINDER sends a low-powered microwave signal under the rubble. It can detect heartbeats, and for the record, it found heartbeats under thirty feet of rubble and twenty feet of concrete. Like what the JPL task manager, James Lux, said, “FINDER is a tool that complements the other search methods, like canines, listening devices, and cameras, used by first responders.” Of how functional it is? Lux added, “One of the more unusual was whether FINDER could detect rhinoceroses hidden in bushes for the purpose of protecting them. We haven’t tried it for that, but in principle, it should work.”

MicroMed-DeBakey VAD

If you thought of NASA, the very first notion would center on space attributions. But interestingly, they already have medical field technology that helps cardiovascular operations. The MicroMed-DeBakey VAD was inspired by the function of the Space Shuttle’s fuel pump. It has been used for heart transplant operation, pumping the blood to circulate in the body system and helps to decrease the risk of blood clottings. The very first patient with this technology was done successfully in 1998. 

In 1988, this technology was a collaboration of Doctors Michael E. DeBakey and George P. Noon, Baylor College of Medicine, and the NASA engineers. The performed transplants have been a total of 451 in the U.S. by 2002. Until today, the technology is still developing, and the recent model already has Heart Attendant, HA5 Pump, and Controller.

The Heart attendant is the monitor of the controller and has the settings of the pump rpm and alarm thresholds. When it is all connected, the heart attendant will gather the pump parameters and will be recorded to its storage. Then, the remote system will be accessed on the internet and displays pump flow (L/min), current/amps, power/watts, rpm. It also includes diagnostic and emergency alarms. With this advanced version, the need for the Clinical Data Acquisition System and the Patient Home Support System is finally no need, which increases the efficacy of the technology.

Mylar

If you are wondering how the spacecraft isn’t burning while in space, especially when the sun is already rising, it is because of the “space blanket.” Mylar is a thin film, aluminum-coated plastic material that is responsible for reflecting heat from the surface. The product was created in the 1950s to protect every spacecraft from the sun. 

After the closing of the National Metallizings factory, its former employee, David Deigan, came with another idea. With the knowledge about the product, he established a company named JSC Inc. but eventually changed into AFMInc due to copyright claims. From there, the product was branded as “Heatsheets.”

Today, it has been used to insulate Hubble Space Telescope, Mars rovers, marathon runners, computer hardware, campers, satellites, and rockets. Also, It accompanies NASA missions, may it be manned or unmanned explorations. In fact, the Apollo lunar vehicles and the James Webb Space Telescope are some of the first recipients of this remarkable invention.