A new bra developed as a space spinoff aids the detection of breast cancer by employing water flowing through tubes to cool the skin surface. When used in conjunction with thermography – a heat-detecting technique used to detect tumours – this adapted clothing, improves image resolution and makes it easier to pick up any cancers.
31.Detection of forest fires
Nasa fire-detection wizardry developed in the early 1990s is now used by the authorities in the USA to detect forest fires that might not be spotted soon enough on the ground, and pinpoint their location. Infrared technology identifies the extent of a fire so firefighters can be sent to the right places to tackle it.
Nasa research into possible bases on the Moon and Mars is looking into the use of plants to provide food, oxygen and water, reducing the need for outside supplies. The research is based on hydroponics, in which plants grow in a liquid instead of in soil. It could be used in food production on Earth.
Using Nasa image-processing technology, human chromosomes are being photographed via cameras mounted on microscopes. The images can then be digitized, allowing doctors to enhance the pictures. The technique can be used to detect infant abnormalities.
Derived from technology on the Space Shuttle, a waste compactor that needs no electrical power has been developed for boats and recreational vehicles. The device has hand-operated ratchets that drive a pressure plate with a compressive force of 2,000 pounds – a more than ample amount to crush cans, for instance.
Nasa developed the know-how to keep spacecraft windows clear of condensation before launch by applying two thin coatings of a special detergent oil mix to them. This has since been applied to stop ski goggles, deep sea diving masks, spectacles and vehicle windows from steaming up.
Studies of high-temperature space materials allowed the development of more resilient and cheaper materials for brake linings. These substances are now found in truck brakes, cranes and passenger cars and make for better and more reliable braking at high speed.
37.Improved air quality
A US firm has created an air-quality monitoring system based on a Nasa scheme. The monitor can analyze the gases emerging from chimneys and determine the amount of individual gases present, helping to ensure that buildings meet emission standards.
38.Life-saving heart technology
One benefit of Nasa’s work in telemetry – wireless control of devices – has been the creation of a heart pacemaker that can be controlled remotely. With no invasive procedures, a physician communicates with the pacemaker via a wireless device held over the patient’s chest.
39.A possible end to water shortages
Research into using bacteria as a means to remove impurities and purify water is being still being undertaken by Nasa. The system makes use of scant resources by turning waste water from respiration, sweat and urine into drinkable liquid and it’s hoped that this could help poorer communities in developing countries.