Technology of Tomorrow: Space Exploration Technology Spin-Offs

tunable diode laser chip compared to eye of needle A tunable diode laser chip compared to eye of needle. Image credit: NASA/JPL.
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August 17, 2005

The next time you pick up a cordless tool or look up at a satellite dish, will you think of NASA? Perhaps not, but chances are that you are enjoying one of the many benefits of technologies developed as a result of space exploration.

The Global Positioning System software developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., is used in large scale tracking of airplanes and automobiles, while infrared sensors designed to remotely measure the temperature of planets and stars are being used to measure body temperature and help surgeons map brain tumors.

In two free public lectures, Dr. Karina Edmonds, a senior technology transfer specialist in JPL's Innovative Technology Assets Management Office, will describe the latest innovations of JPL technologists that have improved the quality of our lives, and in some cases changed them greatly. The lectures will take place Thursday evening, Aug. 18, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and on Friday evening, Aug. 19, at Pasadena City College.

"It's fascinating how many technologies originally developed for space exploration have made their way into our lives," Edmonds said. "Most people are amazed when they find out the number of things in their everyday lives that have NASA origins."  

The free lectures are part of JPL's Theodore von Karman Lecture Series. Both will begin at 7 p.m. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The Thursday lecture will be in JPL's von Kármán Auditorium at 4800 Oak Grove Dr., off the Oak Grove Drive exit of the 210 (Foothill) Freeway. The Friday lecture will be in Pasadena City College's Vosloh Forum, 1570 E. Colorado Blvd.

For more information, call (818) 354-0112. Thursday's lecture will be webcast live and available afterwards at .

The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.

Natalie Godwin/JPL (818) 354-0850


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