NASA's Contribution to Technological Advances on Earth
NASA is more than just a space administration; it shows itself everyday in the world although at first it might not be apparent. There are not many people that know the variety of what it has brought to everyday life. NASA is not limited to just aerospace technology. The three main fields of development have been medical, environmental and consumer products. Each field is equally important to technological development. NASA’s space exploration is essential for the advancement of technology on Earth.
On October 1, 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was created. It was the day of beginning a rich history of unique scientific and technological achievements in human space flight, aeronautics, space science, and space applications. It was formed because of the Sputnik crisis of confidence. NASA inherited the earlier National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), and other government organizations, and immediately began working on options for human space flight (Roland, 1999).
NASA was first called upon to find out if humans could survive in space in Project Mercury. This was then followed by Project Gemini, which built upon the successes of Project Mercury and used a spacecraft built for two astronauts. NASA then turned their attention to the moon in Project Apollo, which was successful in 1969 when the Apollo 11 mission first put a man on the moon. The Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz Test Projects soon followed in the early and mid-1970s. NASA then resumed their human space flights in 1981, with the Space Shuttle program that is still continued today to help build the International Space Station (Launius & Garber, 2001).
NASA has also done pioneering work in space applications satellites. This helped bring about new generations of communications satellites such as the Echo, Telstar, and Syncom satellites. Their earth science efforts have also literally changed the way Earth is looked at; the Landsat and Earth Observing System spacecraft have contributed many important scientific findings. The technology has also resulted in numerous "spin-offs" in wide-ranging scientific, technical, and commercial fields. Overall, while the tremendous technical and scientific accomplishments of NASA demonstrate vividly that humans can achieve previously inconceivable feats, it is hard to believe that Earth is just a tiny "blue marble" in the cosmos (Launius & Garber, 2001).
"People think it’s only aerospace technology, but [NASA has] medical as well," said S. Garry Miller (Dekok, 2002).
Many health applications originate in the imaginations of NASA engineers, technicians, or scientists. After the applications are designed many times commercial health-care organizations take over the distribution of the work. The inventions NASA has given to the medical industry have helped millions of lives each and every...