Inducted In: 2008, Health, Medicine

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Space technology is now helping diagnose and monitor treatments for hardening of the arteries before it causes heart attacks and strokes. Advanced video imaging software developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory provides remarkably accurate and imagery of our solar system and has laid…

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Micro Algae Nutritional Supplements and Products from Space Research

Inducted In: 2009, Health, Medicine

Millions of infants and adults around the world benefit from nutrition technology that began with space research. In the early 1980s NASA’s Closed Environment Life Support System program explored the use of microalgae as a food supply, oxygen source and waste disposal catalyst on long duration interplanetary missions. Scientists continued work independently after the completion…

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Intrifuge CellXpansion

NASA Image of Intrifuge Cellxpansion
Inducted In: 2011, Health, Medicine

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.

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Flexible Aerogel Insulating System

NASA Image of Flexible Aerogel Insulating System

Flexible aerogels were originally developed to serve as a barrier to the extreme temperatures that occur during rocket launches and that affect spacecraft as they are exposed to both high heat and severe cold. Because the initial silica aerogels were fragile and expensive, NASA contracted with James Fesmire, senior principal investigator of the Cryogenics Test…

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Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Microgravity (ADUM) Experiment

NASA Image of Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Microgravity
Inducted In: 2013, Health, Medicine

Diagnosing medical issues in space can be challenging. Traditional imaging devices like MRI and CAT Scan are much too large, heavy and energy-hungry for practical use on existing spacecraft. Alternately, compact and low-power ultrasound promises to be the diagnostic tool of choice for future human space missions.   In 2000, NASA approached Dr. Scott Dulchavsky…

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Canadian Space Robotics Systems-CanadArm

NASA Image of Canadian Space Robotics Systems
Inducted In: 2014, Health, Medicine

In 1969, NASA invited Canada to participate in the space shuttle program. A request for proposals for a Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS) resulted in a proposal led by Spar Aerospace – now MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) and which included CAE Electronics, RCA Canada and Dilworth, Secord, Meagher and Associates. With Canadian government support,…

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Chronos Vision Eye-Tracking Device

NASA Image of Eye-Tracking Device
Inducted In: 2015, Health, Medicine

In the late 1990’s, NASA approached the German Space Agency (DLR) to develop technology to measure the precise eye movements of astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle. A program called the “Life Sciences Working Group” was created and housed in DLR’s Division of Manned Spaceflight. DLR approached physicist Dr. Friedrich Baartz to apply his expertise in…

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Langley Research Center’s Soluble Imide (LaRC-SI) compound for medical applications

Inducted In: 2016, Health, Medicine

Like so many prized finds, this discovery was unexpected. While at NASA Langley developing materials for high-speed civil transport and lightweight rocket bodies, Dr. Robert Bryant noticed that an experimental polymer that should have turned into a powder instead remained soluble. Others repeated his experiment with the same results. When Dr. Bryant left the research…

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