пятница, 19 июля 2019 г.

5 Ways the Moon Landing Changed Life on Earth

When Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the Moon 50

years ago
, he famously said “that’s one small step for a man, one giant leap

for mankind
.” He was referring to the historic milestone of exploring beyond

our own planet — but there’s also another way to think about that giant leap:

the massive effort to develop technologies to safely reach, walk on the Moon

and return home led to countless innovations that have improved life on Earth.

Armstrong took one small step on the lunar surface, but the Moon

landing led to a giant leap forward in innovations for humanity.

Here are five examples of technology developed for the

Apollo program that we’re still using today:

1. Food Safety Standards

As soon as we started planning to send astronauts into

space, we faced the problem of what to feed them — and how to ensure the food was

safe to eat. Can you imagine getting food poisoning on a spacecraft, hundreds

of thousands of miles from home?

We teamed up with a familiar name in food production: the

Pillsbury Company. The company soon realized that existing quality control

methods were lacking. There was no way to be certain, without extensive testing

that destroyed the sample, that the food was free of bacteria and toxins.

Pillsbury revamped its entire food-safety process, creating what

became the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point system. Its aim was to prevent food safety problems from

occurring, rather than catch them after the fact. They managed this by analyzing

and controlling every link in the chain, from the raw materials to the

processing equipment to the people handling the food.

Today, this is one of the space program’s most far-reaching

spinoffs. Beyond keeping the astronaut food supply safe, the Hazard Analysis

and Critical Point system has also been adopted around the world — and likely reduced

the risk of bacteria and toxins in your local grocery store. 


2. Digital Controls for

Air and Spacecraft

The Apollo spacecraft was revolutionary for many reasons.

Did you know it was the first vehicle to be controlled by a digital computer?

Instead of pushrods and cables that pilots manually adjusted to manipulate the

spacecraft, Apollo’s computer sent signals to actuators at the flick of a


Besides being physically lighter and less cumbersome, the

switch to a digital control system enabled storing large quantities of data and

programming maneuvers with complex software.

Before Apollo, there were no digital computers to control

airplanes either. Working together with the Navy and Draper Laboratory, we

adapted the Apollo digital flight computer to work

on airplanes. Today, whatever airline you might be flying, the pilot is

controlling it digitally, based on the technology first developed for the

flight to the Moon.


3. Earthquake-ready Shock


A shock absorber descended from

Apollo-era dampers and computers saves lives by stabilizing buildings during


Apollo’s Saturn V rockets had to

stay connected to the fueling tubes on the launchpad up to the very last

second. That presented a challenge: how to safely move those tubes out of the

way once liftoff began. Given how fast they were moving, how could we ensure

they wouldn’t bounce back and smash into the vehicle?

We contracted with Taylor

Devices, Inc. to develop dampers to cushion the shock, forcing the company to

push conventional shock isolation technology to the limit.

Shortly after, we went back to

the company for a hydraulics-based high-speed computer. For that challenge, the

company came up with fluidic dampers—filled with compressible fluid—that worked

even better. We later applied the same technology on the Space Shuttle’s


The company has since adapted

these fluidic dampers for buildings and bridges to help them survive

earthquakes. Today, they are successfully protecting structures in some of the

most quake-prone areas of the world, including Tokyo, San Francisco and Taiwan.


4. Insulation for Space

We’ve all seen runners draped in silvery “space blankets” at

the end of marathons, but did you know the material, called radiant barrier

insulation, was actually created for space?

Temperatures outside of Earth’s atmosphere can fluctuate

widely, from hundreds of degrees below to hundreds above zero. To better

protect our astronauts, during the Apollo program we invented a new kind of effective, lightweight


We developed a method of coating mylar with a thin layer of vaporized metal particles. The resulting material had the look and weight

of thin cellophane packaging, but was extremely reflective—and pound-for-pound, better than anything else available.

Today the material is still used to protect astronauts, as

well as sensitive electronics, in nearly all of our missions. But it has also

found countless uses on the ground, from space blankets for athletes to

energy-saving insulation for buildings. It also protects essential components

of MRI machines used in medicine and much, much more.


Image courtesy of the U.S. Marines

5. Healthcare Monitors

Patients in hospitals are hooked up to sensors that send

important health data to the nurse’s station and beyond — which means when an

alarm goes off, the right people come running to help.

This technology saves lives every day. But before it reached

the ICU, it was invented for something even more extraordinary: sending health

data from space down to Earth.

When the Apollo astronauts flew to the Moon, they were

hooked up to a system of sensors that sent real-time information on their blood

pressure, body temperature, heart rate and more to a team on the ground.

The system was developed for us by Spacelabs Healthcare,

which quickly adapted it for hospital monitoring. The company now has telemetric

monitoring equipment in nearly every hospital around the world, and it is

expanding further, so at-risk patients and their doctors can keep track of

their health even outside the hospital.


Only a few people have ever walked on the Moon, but the

benefits of the Apollo program for the rest of us continue to ripple widely.

In the years since, we have continued to create innovations

that have saved lives, helped the environment, and advanced all kinds of technology.

Now we’re going forward to the Moon with the Artemis program and on to Mars — and

building ever more cutting-edge technologies to get us there. As with the many

spinoffs from the Apollo era, these innovations will transform our lives for

generations to come.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of

space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.

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Соединение Юпитера  ♃  и  Сатурна  ♄   21 декабря 2020   16 : 30 по Гринвичу, 21 декабря 2020 года, состоится условное соединение Юпитера ♃ ...