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World Space Week 2018

Posted by on October 4th, 2018

October 4th – 10th is World Space Week! Health science research in space and aeronautics has had strong influences on medical technologies today. According to NASA Spinoffs, “From experiments on the International Space Station to aeronautics research, NASA programs are resulting in spinoffs that improve health, treat disease, and save lives” (Health and Medicine brochure).

World Space Week

A “spinoff” is a technology that began with NASA, but through partnerships with the private sector have led to the creation of commercially available products. There have been over 230 “spinoffs” related to health and medicine, documented since 1976. From heart valves to ultrasound software, these technologies have reached throughout the world. NASA continues to partner with the private sector to discover new aerospace technologies that can be brought down to benefit those of us down here on Earth.

From the NASA Spinoffs page, some examples of real world applications pertaining to health and medicine include:

  • Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) used for growing plants and healing people.
  • Infrared ear thermometers that make it easier to take temperatures for babies or those who are ill.
  • Prosthetic limbs that have been developed from technologies developed from NASA space robotic and extravehicular activities.
  • Heart pumps, Ventricular Assist Devices or VADs, that serve as a bridge to a heart transplant (keeping patients stable until a donor heart is available).
  • Water purification systems were created to “recycle” waste water into drinkable water for the astronauts living on the International Space Station. This technology is now used to filter and create drinkable water in regions where water is contaminated.
  • Food safety guidelines were created to prevent food from being exposed to bacteria and toxins.

For more information, check out the earlier links to their Spinoffs page and brochure. Also, MedlinePlus Magazine did a feature about collaboration between the NIH and NASA all the way back in Fall 2007!

How will you be celebrating Space Week? Let us know via Twitter or on our Facebook!

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Funded under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012345 with the University of North Texas Health Science Center - Gibson D. Lewis Library, and awarded by the DHHS, NIH, National Library of Medicine.

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