Pricing Innovation:

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The intent of this article is to help show that not everything we do should be broken down to the bottom line. The focus is about government programs in the field of technology. It is really difficult to place a price on innovation and the good it will do to humanity over time, however sometimes, politicians with no scientific experience believe they can better represent the people by saving government funds.

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The program I’m talking about here is NASA. It stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and it was created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958 to encourage peaceful applications in space science.
As I stated above, it’s really difficult to put a price on how much NASA has helped progress the citizens of the United States as well as the human race, however I’m going to focus on an interesting perspective and list some of the 1,800 spinoff inventions that originated from NASA Patented technologies.

Here is a list of NASA originated inventions:

  1. Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
  2. Infraread ear thermometers
  3. Ventricular assisted device (a.k.a. the heart pump)
  4. Artificial Limbs
  5. Anti-Icing/Deicing systems
  6. Highway Safety to increase tire traction and prevent injury
  7. Improved Radial Tires (NASA is the reason why a tire thread life is greater than 10,000 miles)
  8. Chemical Detection (Sensors that detect dangerous chemical imbalances)
  9. Video Enhancing and Analysis Systems
    1. This system helps FBI agents analyze video footage, and it has been adapted by the U.S. military for weapons deployment, damage assessment, training, and mission debriefing.
  10. Land Mine Removal
  11. Fire-Resistant Reinforcement
  12. Firefighter Gear (This was a spinoff from 1976)
  13. Temper Foam (also known as “memory foam”)
  14. Enriched Baby Food
  15. Portable Cordless Vacuums
  16. Freeze Drying Technology
  17. Harnessing Solar Energy
  18. Pollution Remediation
  19. Water Purification
  20. Computer software capable of weather visualization and forecasting, high-resolution 3D mapping and real time tracking of the International Space Station.
  21. Structural Analysis
    1. Computer programs that are equipped to design, test and analyze stress, vibration to assess structures
  22. Refrigerated Internet-Connected Wall Ovens
  23. Powdered Lubricants
  24. Improved Mine Safety
  25. Food Safety Program

Most of these items have changed our lives for the better, and we’re all grateful of them (especially the firefighters). In 2010, the Obama Administration and Congress voted the ‘NASA Authorization Act of 2010’, which officially canceled the Constellation Program. This program was known as the human spaceflight program whose goal were to complete the International Space Station, for the US to return to the moon no later than 2020, and it’s third goal was for a manned flight to Mars.

VonBraunMuellerReesSA6The administration sighted that the program was too expensive.  What about all the genius scientists and engineers that worked on the program? They all were let go.

The only hope is that this program is signed back into law sometime soon, and hopefully re-hiring all the bright minds that once worked at NASA.

It’s easy to put a price on something. There are millions of analysts out there that could tell you the price to just about anything, however you will rarely find some who understand its value to society.

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