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).
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:
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!