Is There an Awesome NASA Spinoff in Your Home?

Have you heard of NASA Spinoffs? When Congress established NASA in 1958, it required the space agency to share information about its discoveries. They also gave NASA the go-ahead to patent inventions and help businesses develop commercial uses for them. The results are amazing. Thousands of devices started because of research for space vehicles or exploration. Is there an awesome NASA Spinoff in your home? Maybe. Spinoffs Since 1976, NASA has published Spinoff https://spinoff.nasa.gov/ a publication that features an average of 50 of these technologies. Technologies that range from ear thermometers to Ventricular assist devices to water purification systems and much more. Research for cutting-edge technologies often takes years and many, many dollars. Small businesses often could invest the time but rarely had the funds. In the 1980s, the Small Business Administration began a funding project to promote development of innovative technologies. Their idea was that both government agencies and private industry would benefit from the research and development. Small businesses apply for funds, then develop technology that’s of interest to NASA. The small company can then use what they learned to develop products for their company. It’s a win-win. And boy have we won some cool tech. One such […]

An Inspiring Woman In Space And On The Ground

From last week’s strong Mohawk woman of the revolutionary war era we’re coming forward hundreds of years. This week’s Women’s History Month spotlight is on an inspiring woman in space and on the ground, Ellen Ochoa. Ms. Ochoa, a Hispanic-American Woman, made history in our lifetime. Engineer, inventor, astronaut, and administrator, she is a champion of and for women. “We do a disservice to society as a whole, if we are not providing the same kinds of encouragement to women to contribute as we do to men.” – Ellen Ochoa Early Life Ochoa’s paternal grandparents immigrated from Sonora, Mexico to Arizona. They later moved to California where Ochoa’s father, Joseph, was born. Ellen Ochoa was born May 10, 1958 in Los Angeles, California, U.S. Her parents were Joseph and Rosanne (née Deardorf) Ochoa. She loved math and science in school, even if other kids looked down on her for that. She played the flute and wanted to be a musician. Like many of us, she watched the moon landing. She was eleven. It never occurred to her to want to be an astronaut. There were no female astronauts then. Education Ochoa’s parents divorced while she attended  Grossmont High School in El Cajon. She graduated […]

Going to Mars Word-by-Word: the Landis Way

The next stop in our Going to Mars Word-by-Word tour is Mars Crossing by Geoffrey Landis. Published by Tor Books in 2000, this is the first novel by an experienced and award-winning short story author. It won a nomination for a Nebula and won the Locus Award for best first novel in 2001.  Hop aboard for a gritty, near-future science fiction tale of the exploration of Mars the Landis way.   WHAT IT’S ABOUT By 2028, two missions have been sent to Mars. Both the Brazilian and the American expeditions met with catastrophe and death on the Red Planet. A NASA-private venture hopes the third mission to Mars will be the first to return. Their plan relies on a return vessel sent to Mars years earlier, capable of manufacturing fuel for the return trip from the Martian atmosphere. The mixed-gender, multi-national crew of six lands on Mars successfully but their celebrations are short-lived. A catastrophic failure kills one of the crew and causes irreparable damage to the return ship. And there is no hope of a rescue mission coming from Earth. As a last-ditch effort to survive, they set out to cross 4,000 miles of Mars to the north pole […]