Induction Year 2011
For decades, medical researchers have taken advantage of the unique aspects of microgravity to develop or grow materials that cannot be made on Earth. For example, cell cultures grown on Earth are only two-dimensional because gravity causes the cells to sink within their growth medium, whereas normal cells grow three-dimensionally in the body. In the 1980s, NASA researchers studying this phenomenon had to halt their work when the Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy grounded the Shuttle fleet, thus blocking access to the microgravity of space. As an alternate, they developed a device called the “rotating wall bioreactor” to grow human cells in simulated weightlessness.
Geospatial technology using Earth-imaging satellites has reshaped our view of the world, improving national security, logistics and navigation, mapping, disease and natural disaster tracking and a myriad of other applications.