It's Not Just about Space: Using NASA Technology to Inspire Youth
Did You Know That's a NASA Technology?
When most people think of NASA technology, they think of technology used in space exploration to the Moon, Mars or the most distant galaxies in the universe. But did you know NASA technologies also benefit life on right here on Earth, in the form of commercial products? "NASA spinoffs" are in your everyday life –they can be found all around you, from your smartphone and household appliances to your car and even in baby formula. NASA is making sure our technological innovations go beyond their original use to benefit the public as new commercial products and services, right here on Earth, right now. As we like to say at NASA, "there’s more space in your life than you think." Since 1976, NASA has profiled more than 2,000 NASA spinoffs in the annual NASA Spinoff publication. Learn about more spinoffs in this year’s publication.
To learn more about NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist, visit NASA.gov.
It’s not very likely that any of the youth you work with will become astronauts and live on the International Space Station. However, it is much more likely that youth in your program may have an idea that could become a NASA technology and make life better for us on Earth. Using NASA’s spinoff publication can help you connect what youth learn in a NASA STEM activity to additional career options. Here’s an example:
You’ve planned a weeks’ worth of lessons focused on the impacts of pollution. On Monday, and Tuesday, youth complete an activity where they explore how carbon dioxide affects air temperature. On Wednesday, youth are encouraged to design something that can clean carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. On Thursday, you share the map of NASA Spinoff Technology across the Nation and discuss the energy and environment NASA spinoffs that are being used right now. As a group, you discuss the following questions:
- How do these technologies solve problems here on Earth?
- What careers are related to these products and technologies?
- How many different career fields are these products related to?
Exploring additional ways that we use NASA technology and the many careers related to what started at NASA is a great way to engage youth with NASA’s high-quality STEM activities while connecting them to careers that may be more realistic than being an astronaut. Did you know there are 44 active astronauts in the NASA Astronaut Corps? Three of them are currently aboard the International Space Station!
Adapted from Bryan, W. (2018, March 12). Did you know that’s a NASA technology? [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.nasa.gov/offices/oct/feature/did-you-know-thats-a-nasa-technology.