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Saturday, January 14 • 11:40am - 12:00pm
"Bringing NASA Technology Down to Earth!"

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There’s More SPACE In Your Life Than You Think!

When NASA sets out on a new mission to explore the cosmos, we know the results will often surprise and astonish us.  NASA makes sure these innovations go beyond their original uses to benefit the public as widely as possible.  These secondary applications can be surprising as the scientific discoveries made by our spacecraft. Today we will take a look at some 2017 NASA Spinoffs and how to relate the Spinoffs to your classroom.

Did you know there's NASA technology protecting buildings against earthquakes, making your car safer, and in tools used by archeologists to uncover the landscape?  Every year Spinoffs shows how NASA is bringing space technology down to Earth where it benefits the public and improves your life. 

 Some examples:

1) Brand new unique damper technology that stops shaking in it tracks.  NASA used it to protect rockets but the device now protects skyscrapers from wind and earthquakes. 

Earth vs. Mars: What similar physical processes occur on both Earth and Mars? In this activity, students work in pairs to compare and contrast the physical processes that may be inferred through the observation of images of both Mars and Earth. They will discuss the processes that have occurred on the Earth and the outcomes that have resulted, and transfer this knowledge to the interpretation of the processes that may have occurred on Mars.

Keywords: physical processes, geography, planet origins, erosion, landforms, earthquakes, volcanoes, atmosphere, fluvial, canyons, channels, craters, uplilfting, downcutting

Student activities: 

1- Build a Shake Table
2- Earthquake Tower Challenge
3- Leaning Tower of Pasta
4-  Strong as the Weakest Link

 2) NASA technology is improving car safety.  A high-speed camera made to record the Orion capsule's parachute deployment now films car crash tests.  Data from these tests helps you and your children through improved car designs.

Student Activities:

Parachute Design Engineer Challenge  When NASA lands a spacecraft on another planet or object in our solar system, it is important to have a soft landing so the spacecraft is not damaged on impact. When humans are on board, it's even more important to have a soft landing. The larger and more massive the spacecraft, the more difficult it is to achieve a soft landing. 

1-In an effort to land larger and more massive objects on Mars, NASA has tested a variety of parachutes as part of the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator project, or LDSD. LDSD uses a large parachute–the largest ever used–to help slow the landing vehicle. 

2-Lunar Rover Challenge - Using different designs and wheels for a safe landing.

3) Laser Imager used for archeology is state of the art.  NASA original used the technology to discover SNOW on Mars.  Back on Earth it's identifying important new excavations from lost cities in the rainforest to prehistoric hunting grounds on the American plains.

Student Activities:

1-Planting an Ecosystem on Mars

Taming the brutal environment of Mars for future human explorers to survive and thrive there may demand a touch of “ecopoiesis” – the creation of an ecosystem able to support life. Students will design a ecosystem using laser imager

2-Space archaeologists don’t actually work in space. Instead, they use satellite imagery, taken by spacecraft whizzing 400 miles above Earth’s surface, to find things buried within the planet’s crust.   Students will participate in a archaeologists dig using instruments that they will make simpler to the ones space archaeologists use.


Tim McConnico

Faculty, CalStateTEACH

avatar for Otto Benavides

Otto Benavides

Emeritus Professor, Fresno State
Super friendly and great guy!
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Karen Roark

EPD Specialist, NASA Ames Research Center/Texas State

Saturday January 14, 2017 11:40am - 12:00pm PST