|Michael D. Griffin
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
On January 14, 2004, President George W. Bush
announced the Vision for Space Exploration, giving
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA) a new and historic focus and clear objectives.
The fundamental goal of the Vision is “...to advance U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests through a robust space exploration program.” In issuing this directive, the President committed the Nation to return human explorers to the Moon by the end of the next decade, and to prepare for the exploration of Mars that will follow. NASA is now working hard to develop a new generation of spacecraft and space launch vehicles that will enable the achievement of these goals within the modest expenditure of tax revenues—on average, $55 per year for every American citizen—that our Nation invests in space exploration and research.
As we continue to explore the universe, I am confident that NASA’s pioneering exploration activities will keep fueling American creativity, innovation, and technology development. Indeed, throughout the Agency’s history, technologies developed to advance our exploration missions have boosted economic progress and benefited millions of people here on Earth.
Spinoff 2005 highlights NASA’s work, consistent with our Agency’s charter, to “research, develop, verify, and transfer advanced aeronautics, space, and related technologies.” Among the beneficial NASA-derived technologies featured in Spinoff 2005 now utilized in the commercial and public sector are:
a bacterial spore-detection
unit designed to sterilize Mars-bound spacecraft
that can also recognize anthrax and other harmful
a remote command and control system NASA
uses to run experiments on the International
Space Station that allows people to use a
cell phone, personal digital assistant (PDA),
or Internet connection to activate their
kitchen appliances and begin cooking dinner
before they get home.
space suit technology used in the production
of lighter-than-air vehicles, such as blimps
and dirigibles, during pharmaceutical manufacturing
and the production of gas masks for military
and civilian use.
a prototype of the Mars Exploration Rover
that is being used in Afghanistan and Iraq
to help U.S. troops clear caves and bunkers,
search buildings, cross live antipersonnel
mine fields, and deal with the dangers posed
by improvised explosive devices.
lightning-detection devices used on NASA’s
launch pads at the Kennedy Space Center in
Florida that are now being used to pinpoint
lightning strikes at airports.
a powerful lubricant designed for use in
turbomachinery that is now being widely used
a filter designed for use on satellites
being used to clean the air breathed by racecar
These innovations demonstrate that a vigorous space
exploration program has and will continue to provide
the American public with an impressive technological
return on investment. Although technological spinoffs
are ancillary benefits of NASA’s exploration activities,
and not the chief reason for doing what we do,
they are tangible and benefit the country.