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Thread: How space exploration R&D spinoff has benefited humans.

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    How space exploration R&D spinoff has benefited humans.

    There is lots of examples of how the R&D for space exploration has spilled over into our everyday lives. Below is an article listing some of it. Does anyone have some examples of recent R&D that has impacted our lives. Especially form R&D done using the facilities of the ISS.

    http://www.newindianexpress.com/citi...cle2621004.ece

    Every time you settle back in the comfort of your car seat or flaunt your spanking new sunglasses, remember to thank cutting-edge space technology.

    Spin-offs of space technology abound in our daily life, but in most instances we are blissfully unaware that the little gadgets or techniques that make our lives a lot simpler had their origins in ideas intended not for us, but for astronauts. An oft-quoted example is that of the ball-point pen. It was originally thought up to enable astronauts perform the rather simple act of writing in a micro-gravity environment where ink pens are worthless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    There is lots of examples of how the R&D for space exploration has spilled over into our everyday lives. Below is an article listing some of it. Does anyone have some examples of recent R&D that has impacted our lives. Especially form R&D done using the facilities of the ISS.

    http://www.newindianexpress.com/citi...cle2621004.ece
    I was a bit surprised by that. The ballpoint pen was invented for astronauts... in the 19th century? Ballpoint pens can't even be used (normally) in microgravity, since they require gravity to get the ink down into the ball. I wonder what the writer was thinking.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I was a bit surprised by that. The ballpoint pen was invented for astronauts... in the 19th century? Ballpoint pens can't even be used (normally) in microgravity, since they require gravity to get the ink down into the ball. I wonder what the writer was thinking.
    Right, "astronaut pens" using pressurized gas cartridges were all the rage* when I was a kid.

    *In fact they were expensive novelties, and failed to catch on. So they were at best, 1% of the rage.
    Last edited by Noclevername; 2015-Jan-19 at 07:05 AM.
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    Yes; that article is a bunch of half truths.
    The Fisher pen was developed privately and for purposes for more than zero gravity. It only got it's name when NASA adopted it.
    The bucket seat was designed for race cars and started appearing in production vehicles in the 50s.
    Besides, the seats were not designed for zero-G. They were designed for high G loads and turbulence.
    And laparoscopic surgery was first envisioned in the early 1900s.
    Radial tires were invented in 1915.
    I'm surprised he didn't mention Tang.

    Now; I did say half-truths. While these things were not developed for space, space technology may have played various levels of improvements to these applications.

    And that's the problem. While space technology did not create these applications, they do push the boundaries to improve them. The problem is when giving a talk, or trying to exhibit the value, it's not easy to explain. Therefore; people pushing for space technologies take things totally out of context to make it sound impressive to the layman.

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    I had a situation like this during a lecture I gave yesterday. At this moment, 3D printing of metals of continuously variable alloy is being done to create rocket engines. For more mundane applications, it is not yet being applied as it's still too expensive. But by using them in space technology now, you mature the technology and make it cheap enough to eventually apply it to other applications. I'd love to have an affordable sludge pump casing of very wear resistant allow on the inside and very strong, ductile material on the outside, without having to go to a double walled casing. May be reality in the future thanks to space, even though space did not invent the process.

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    NASA has produced a short video (just over a minute) titled " NASA’s Space Technology Investments for Mars Benefitting Life on Earth"

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=...&v=KrUjTZWaDDE
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    I can think of a few inventions that are in part down to NASA.
    I was watching "inventions that shock the world" recently, 20th century inventions that is.
    Memory foam matteress, saterlite navigation. Items that were in part down to NASA were, the microwave oven, digital tv's and mobile phones.

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    Satellite navigation was military, not NASA.
    The microwave oven was developed from WWII radar technology.
    I'm not sure how they attributed digital TVs and mobile phones to NASA, but you did say "in part". I'm sure there are some aspects of NASA in there. But the invention of them has been through decades of evolution.
    Memory foam was NASA.

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    Sorry when i say digital tv's and mobiles. I was meaning to include that the satellights used for said devices.

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    Some more examples of space R&D that has benefited humans.

    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/...w/47484995.cms

    "The megapixel cameras using which you take selfies was originally designed of space photography. The MRI that acts as guide to life-saving (medical process) was made for moon observation for Apollo Mission. Welcrow used in bags, shoes and purses were popularised to bind equipment in zero gravity solutions. In fact, over 1,600 technologies ended up revolutiionsing our lives," he said.

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    The idea that MRI was developed for lunar exploration is not true. It's true that NASA developed image enhancement techniques that are used with CT and MRI imaging, but not the technology itself.
    As above, so below

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    Also, according to NASA itself, memory foam is not a space program spin-off. It was developed under contract from NASA, but as a safety measure for airplanes.
    As above, so below

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    To be fair, the article did say that there are items, specifically like velcro, that were "popularized" by the space program (which would include Tang and the Fisher Space pen).

    So; out of those 1600 items, I wonder how many were actually born from the need of space technology.

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    Here is one example where space technology is helping solve what would have been a major challenge. There are many other areas that ISRO has used their enterprise to help the Indian population from fishing, agriculture, schooling, medical and weather forecasting.

    http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/m.../1/442322.html

    The Water Resources Ministry has asked the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to identify the ponds that have dried up across the country, in order to ascertain the areas where water table has declined alarmingly or ground water has almost dried.

    The ministry would then plan appropriate rain water harvesting and recharge schemes for these areas, Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Uma Bharti said on Thursday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Here is one example where space technology is helping solve what would have been a major challenge. There are many other areas that ISRO has used their enterprise to help the Indian population from fishing, agriculture, schooling, medical and weather forecasting.

    http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/m.../1/442322.html
    I think that's one of many examples where space development has benefited us, with the major one probably being communications and GPS. But that's not the same as a spin-off.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I think that's one of many examples where space development has benefited us, with the major one probably being communications and GPS. But that's not the same as a spin-off.
    Both GPS and space communications was developed for military use. It took a major natural disaster here on earth for the US government to allow a degrade GPS for civilean use.
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    I believe -- I'm working from memory -- that integrated circuits were developed for satellites. I don't know if it was for NASA or another agency.
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Both GPS and space communications was developed for military use. It took a major natural disaster here on earth for the US government to allow a degrade GPS for civilean use.
    Civilian use of GPS was available before anything like Katrina -- it was opened to civilian use in 1983. The precipitating cause was KAL 007. During the Gulf War, the encryption was turned off so the higher precision mode was avalable to allied vehicles.
    Last edited by swampyankee; 2015-Jun-08 at 10:05 AM.
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    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Civilian use of GPS was available before anything like Katrina -- it was opened to civilian use in 1983. The precipitating cause was KAL 007. During the Gulf War, the encryption was turned off so the higher precision mode was avalable to allied vehicles.
    The billions that were spent was justified by the US military. It was only after KAL 007 that it was opened up for civilian use - "After Korean Air Lines Flight 007, a Boeing 747 carrying 269 people, was shot down in 1983 after straying into the USSR's prohibited airspace,[22] in the vicinity of Sakhalin and Moneron Islands, President Ronald Reagan issued a directive making GPS freely available for civilian use, once it was sufficiently developed, as a common good.".

    I see that was a space spin off that has now developed into every area of civilian life.

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    Yet another example from India where they are using ISRO to help solve problems here on earth.

    http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/k...ir/188562.html

    he J&K Government has approached the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to carry out flood zoning of Kashmir which was hit by a devastating deluge in September 2014.

    The zoning of flood plains would identify vulnerable spots in the Valley and help authorities plan flood management in a better way.

    “We have approached the ISRO for undertaking flood zoning of Kashmir. They have told us that the process will be completed in one year,” said Chief Engineer, Flood Control Department (Kashmir), JavedJaffer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    I believe -- I'm working from memory -- that integrated circuits were developed for satellites. I don't know if it was for NASA or another agency.
    The first successful ones were for the Air Force, but at the time, satellites were in the Air Force realm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    The first successful ones were for the Air Force, but at the time, satellites were in the Air Force realm.
    What year will that be? I know as a fact a British company was working with them for walkie talkies in 1966.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    What year will that be? I know as a fact a British company was working with them for walkie talkies in 1966.
    It's all laid out in Wiki.
    First conceived in 1949 for hearing aids. A few attempts at development until the first working example in late 1958.

    They don't make it clear, but from the history, it looks like they were interested in radar components rather than satellites.

    I think it's like a lot of Space technology. It may not be conceived of for space, but the rapid development and adoption of the idea was certainly through the use in space. Many of these ideas would have otherwise taken much longer to be developed, or even have dropped off the "radar".

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    ISRO has been very focused on using space to benefit the country. Here is another example of it. I consider these as the spinoff that India is gaining because they decided to invest in space technology through ISRO.

    http://spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html...tm_content=api

    India is a vibrant and culturally diverse country linked by vast geography and history. The evidence of country’s historic accomplishments remains visible in architecture, heritage sites and traditions that are still visited, venerated and practiced. Some of these heritage sites receive enormous global and national attention. However, many of these heritage sites face increasing risk from urbanisation, economic development and implications of unanticipated changes. The conservation of world heritage sites, ancient monuments and archaeological sites is of national importance and also helps in development and promotion of tourism, which is one of the major engines of economic growth.

    Ministry of Culture, GOI has taken up a national project for inventory and monitoring of archaeological sites of the country in collaboration with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). This project will help to conserve and manage thousands of heritage sites and monuments of national importance spread across in the country.

    The systematic database of these heritage sites and Site Management Plans generated using space technology will help to take appropriate measures in conserving, preserving and monitoring activities of a heritage site. Such systems developed can be operationally used by the authorities responsible for the upkeep of heritage sites like Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) with least effort, time and cost implications.

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    Here is a outcome of work that NASA has done that could benefit millions of Indians.

    http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/...ld-save-rupees

    Rainwater could save people in India a bucket of money, according to a new study by scientists looking at NASA satellite data.

    The study, partially funded by NASA’s Precipitation Measurement Missions, found that collecting rainwater for vegetable irrigation could reduce water bills, increase caloric intake and even provide a second source of income for people in India.

    The study, published in the June issue of Urban Water Journal, is based on precipitation data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, which provided observations of rainfall over the tropics and subtropics from 1997 to 2015.

    "India has severe problems getting potable water to all of its residents," said Dan Stout, research assistant in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Utah and one of three authors of the study. "We considered collecting water in a relatively small tank, and it’s amazing the effect that doing something that small and simple can have on the Indian people."

    Rainwater harvesting is not a new concept, but the team said it is currently a largely untapped resource in India. Other researchers have studied rainwater harvesting as a potential solution for the country’s water problems, but they mostly focused on its use to replenish groundwater levels, which does not provide any direct benefit for immediate water supply. The water must run off into the ground before being pumped again for use aboveground.

    Here, the team examined the possibilities if Indians collected precipitation in cheap 200-gallon tanks that they could easily engineer to fit in densely populated urban areas, such as many of India’s growing cities. The team analyzed satellite data of precipitation in different areas to evaluate the availability of rainwater for direct harvesting—information that would have been nearly impossible to obtain if not for TRMM.

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    Nice! Maybe add in aquaponics...

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    There are many, many indirect spin-offs, and it is difficult to separate NASA sponsorship from Military spending. Personally, I spent roughly 60% of my career on NASA programs, 25% on Navy and Air Force, and 15% on Army, private and other defense agencies while working in the same R&D environment. NASA funded a LOT of the early purchases of equipment to manufacture composites. They also funded many purchases of FTIRs, NMRs, graphics terminals and control systems, helping fledging industries stay afloat while produces are developed. NASA/military applications funded replacement technologies for asbestos, water-soluble polymers (used in paints), development of adhesives, parachute fabrics, sensor technology, composites, 3d milling, and Kevlar. Indirectly funded, the some of the same researchers developed automotive airbag systems.

    If you look for this fundamental level of R&D in America today, the number of laboratories and funded research is greatly diminished in real dollars. Part of this is due to technological maturity, but in many ways, were are falling behind.
    “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes

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    How space research is helping Canadian farmers.

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/pr...4,5,6,15,17,34

    Member of Parliament Lawrence Toet (Elmwood-Transcona) today announced funding projects at five Canadian universities to analyze and compile measurements collected by NASA's Soil and Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite.

    The SMAP mission will provide measurements of soil moisture and determine whether the ground is frozen or thawed in the Canadian boreal environment and other cold areas of the world. These measurements will help to produce global maps of soil moisture, helping scientists to better understand how changes in weather and climate affect the cycling of Earth's water and carbon.

    This data could help improve weather forecasting including more accurate flood and drought predictions. With new insights into changing weather and water conditions, Canadian farmers will be able to better understand crop yields and get early warnings of soil conditions that could lead to crop-damaging pests.

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    Keeping to ISRO's philosophy of using its space technology to benefit India, they have identified their platform 'Bhuvan' (geospatial platform) application service to be a key tool to implement India's smart city programmes.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/g.../48457845.cms?

    The move will help the town planners to prepare master plans for many fast growing urban local bodies, keeping in view projected population growth, topography and available natural resources in the surrounding areas.

    The mapping is being currently done for municipal local bodies with a population of more than a 100,000. The country's space agency will also map and provide management plans for heritage sites and monuments of national importance.

    "We have tied up with the ministry of urban development to map over 4,041 areas which include around 500 urban local bodies. After mapping these cities and towns, we can prepare a base plan. This can help urban planners prepare a better master plan," said VK Dadhwal, director of Isro's National Remote Sensing Centre.

    Speaking about additional features incorporated in the 'Bhuvan', Dadhwal noted that the Isro has diversified its operations under 'Bhuvan Application Services' like one meter satellite images for more than 300 cities in the country, 3D city models with extrusions of the buildings and virtual city models.

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    India has used their satellites to help in identifying locations to drill for water.

    http://www.thehindu.com/news/nationa...cle7879596.ece

    So far, satellite-based investigations had helped in exact points for digging over 3.50 lakh (350,000) borewells in the country, registering a success rate of 95 per cent to 96 per cent, which was in sharp contrast to other conventional and non-conventional practices with less than 50 per cent success rate. The space programmes played significant role in nation’s agriculture and food production programmes.

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