Technology developed at Ames Research Center to take high-resolution imagery on Mars is now being used in baseball stadiums across the country. A private business customized the platform to accommodate in-game shots that capture nearly the whole stadium. Fans can navigate the photos online and tag themselves and their friends using social media tools..
Goddard Space Flight Center enlisted the help of several contractors to accomplish the enormous task of polishing the Webb telescope mirrors. One of the contractors developed a system for testing the mirrors and was later acquired by a company that now offers a laser vision product—enhanced by the telescope innovations—to measure a patient’s eye and create a map for treatment.
Under NASA funding, a private company enhanced and refined a polymer material that was incorporated into a formula intended to repair any potential damage on the exterior of the space shuttle. The polymer converts into a ceramic at high temperatures, and the company now manufactures a family of related heat management products for the military, aerospace, aviation, and automotive markets.
To help inspect the more than 200 miles of electrical bundles and wires on the space shuttle, Pedro Medelius at Kennedy Space Center invented the standing wave reflectometer. A company then licensed the technology, which is now used to examine wiring in aircraft, submarines, sea vessels, and helicopters. The private company has grown to 30 employees and the technology has saved more than $2 million on development costs.
A nonprofit, NASA-sponsored research partnership center developed a leaf sensor that can monitor plants using electrical pulses, allowing anyone from astronauts to farmers to measure plant water levels directly. One company has commercialized the technology, allowing “thirsty” plants to send text messages to farmers asking for more water.