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Benefits: Technological Spin-offs

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Spin-off Applications

Biomedical Application Teams

Philosopher Francis Bacon told the story of a man who told his sons to dig for gold on his land. He couldn't remember where he had hid it; so they had to dig up much of the land. They didn't find any gold; but the land yielded an abundant grape harvest that they made much money off of. This is a perfect example of a spin-off. When researchers focus on creating a new technology for medicine or other fields, they tend to be limited in what they can develop, due to a process called fixation of purpose. Sometimes indirect resources reveal new and exciting unforeseen technological advancements. This is also called cutting edge technology. Penicillin was discovered by accident. Electrical engineers would have been satisfied with their vacuum tubes, if micro-electronics hadn't been developed to solve problems in the Space Program. The NASA Space Program has so far produced some 30,000 technological spin-offs.

Since the early 1970s NASA has had Biomedical Application Teams at each of the NASA Research Centers, whose purpose is to facilitate the transfer of Space Program technology to the medical industry. This reduced the cost of medical technological research, and development, for the companies. Health care costs, passed on to the patients, would have been higher then they are now without these developments.

Technology Application Teams

Technology Application Teams have promoted the transfer of NASA technology to many industries. Many areas of concern to mankind have benefited from technological advancements in space. Many researchers might have been satisfied with the status quo, if new unexpected ideas hadn't become available from the Space Program. The electronics industry would have been satisfied with their vacuum tubes.

Aerospace Spin-offs

All sciences, spinoff from basic space science.

All technology has its origins in pure science.

As humankind learned how to work, in the environment of space, advances occurred in all fields of technology.

Many of these benefits would have been missed, by a direct approach to a specific problem, due to fixation of purpose. Electrical engineers would have been satisfied with their vacuum tubes, without advancements from aerospace technology, for example.

Today, over 30,000 aerospace techniques are benefiting many areas of concern to mankind.

NASA's Purpose

"The Congress Hereby Declares, That It Is The Policy Of The United States, That Activities In Space Should Be Devoted To Peaceful Purposes, For The Benefit Of All Mankind."
National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958

Additional Spin-offs

click here to view information about additional NASA spin-offs (pdf)