7 Ways Space Has Benefited Digital Technology on Earth
Happy National Space Day May the 4th Be With You!
Have you ever heard of the Grid Compass? If you haven’t, the Grid Compass is the first device credited as bringing about the laptop as we know it today. The computer was developed by Bill Moggridge in 1979, a British designer, and the device was used by NASA for space shuttle missions between 1985 and the 1990’s, due to its lightweight, compact design.
The small cameras in our phones were developed in the 1990’s by researchers within NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The team were working on complementary metal-oxide semiconductor image sensors designed to produce excellent image quality within a smaller frame. At this time the technology was developed for spacecraft, so they could carry significantly smaller cameras but produce high-quality images. Once developed, the single chip technology has helped us on earth mainly through becoming a part of our daily lives in our camera phones, as well as helping in medical setting as endoscopes.
The Computer Mouse
The computer mouse was first thought up in the 1960’s when a NASA scientist Bob Taylor was looking to make the computer more interactive, and useful for his work in flight display. Doug Englebart was the researcher who ultimately developed the device, which has lead to its use across the world as a way of interacting with computers, enabling use to shop the web, interact on social media, and connect work for global companies.
Space exploration requires fined tuned communication technology so that its astronauts, have the ability to communicate with earth Think back to the iconic ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’ which was broadcast across the globe. Wireless headsets are an integral part of this communication and developing a small set appropriate for space travel was essential.
Developed by Tim Bernes lee in 1990, we couldn’t have the internet as we know it without space satellites beaming data across the globe. Now NASA are also developing a high-speed space internet using laser waves rather than radio waves to beam data at an even faster rate across space, enabling faster astronaut communication. This method transfers data on just a beam of light. Just think what this could mean for us on earth when its developed and potentially becomes a commercial product as other key space developments have done.
You may wonder what Digital LEDS can have to do with space? But they are playing a huge role in not only growing plants in space but the space technology is also curing cancer patients on earth. LEDs are long-lasting and efficient, and therefore research into how they can help sustain astronauts in space has been extensive. This research on space technology has now moved into medical benefit research. High Emissivity Aluminiferous Luminescent Substrate (heals) a successful treatment for cancer patients in trials, beams a far-red light at cancer patients and improves pain for high risk patients undergoing chemotherapy at a 96% rate! To read more about this treatment see this article by NASA.
Panoramic Imaging was developed for exploration of mars, to get a better understanding of the martian landscape. The panoramic images of mars are taken by rover Pancams. ‘The rover Pancams take small, 1 megapixel (1 million pixel) digital photographs, which are stitched together into large panoramas that sometimes measure 4 by 24 megapixels.’ This technology has now become a part of consumer culture, and is a well requested feature for most cameras and camera phones. Something that many of us use on a daily basis!