What is NASA?
The obvious place to start this month with is an explanation of just what NASA is. First and foremost, NASA is a acronym for National Aeronautic and Space Administration, which is a fancy way of saying it's the United States's space program.
Growing up, I thought NASA was basically astronauts and space shuttles. And, in part, it is. All that famous stuff--"Houston, we have a problem," and "One small step for man," and that sort of thing--it all came from NASA.
But in researching this month's posts, I came across NASA's motto: For the benefit of all. And really, that's a much better way of looking at NASA.
Recently, there's been a lot of talk about NASA and its funding--namely, cutting that funding short. I think the problem is that people, like I used to be, think NASA is nothing more than astronauts. But the research NASA does really is for the benefit of all.
A lot of things you probably use every day developed through NASA research. Seriously! This includes:
- Memory foam mattresses
- LED lights
- Scratch-resistant lens for glasses
- Nutrients used in baby formula
These things (and many more!) developed because of NASA research. They needed scratch-resistant helmets for astronauts in space, and then applied that to the glasses lens I wear everyday. These things provide us comfort (omg, memory foam) and luxuries we don't really need. But NASA has also developed important things that sincerely make the world a better place.
For example? Much of the equipment firefighters use. It's not that much of a leap between an astronaut's suit and a firefighter's suit, and things such as flame retardant material got their source in NASA.
Also? Water purification treatments. NASA needed it in space, but that technology is now being used in third-world nations and disaster-relief operations to provide clean water to people who desperately need it.
A lot of what we consider "clean energy" today has it roots in NASA. Solar power and pollution reduction technology started out in NASA. Ironically, the very thing that's getting more funding in today's government wouldn't have existed without NASA.
And that's saying nothing about the medical advancements. Prosthetic limbs, cochlear ear implants, breathing machines and heart monitors are all linked to NASA research.
NASA has had a role in over 1650 (source) spin-offs that are now used widely throughout the world. I know when we think of NASA, we tend to think of this:
|Aldrin in the Apollo Mission|
...or even this:
|Pillars of God, captured by the Hubble Telescope|
This post is a part of the month-long celebration of NASA I'm hosting on my blog. In order to encourage people to celebrate NASA, I'm also hosting a giveaway!
One grand prize winner will receive all the books in the recent Breathless Reads tour, as well as ARCs of two anthologies and a signed Breathless Reads poster:
As well as swag from NASA, courtesy of Kate @ Ex Libris:
To enter: be sure to read the full rules and terms of the contest here. Then fill out the Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway