From lasers to rovers, the technology JPL develops for space often has unanticipated uses much closer to home.
As NASA pushes the frontiers of science and human exploration, the agency also advances technology to modernize life on Earth, including drones, self-driving cars and other innovations.
NASA’s diverse missions spur the creation and improvement of thousands of new products that make life better for people around the world. Dozens of the latest examples are featured in the newest edition of NASA’s Spinoff publication, including several from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, and many illustrating how NASA is working to shape the coming revolution of autonomous vehicles on the roads and in the air.
“NASA engineers, scientists and technologists innovate the tools we need for the Artemis missions to the Moon and exploration beyond, but our mission also is here on Earth,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator of the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). “Whether it’s a new application for a technology created for space or our extensive work to modernize and innovate aeronautics, our work has had immense benefits for all kinds of transportation technology on Earth – not to mention in the realms of medicine, the environment and public safety.”
In this issue of Spinoff, readers will learn how:
The technology behind NASA-JPL’s Mars helicopter – which will ride aboard the agency’s Perseverance Mars rover when it launches this summer – also has aided the design of a rugged drone farmers use to survey land and maximize crop yields. A methanol-based fuel cell, developed with JPL engineering know-how, is being adopted by the oil and gas industry to mitigate emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, during the drilling process. Metallic glass, which has been developed by JPL over decades, is now used in a coating that
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