Not All NASA Advancements Make for Bold Headlines… But Some Could Positively Affect Our Lives

Many of us who have been around a while remember some of the most historic moments in NASA history.

Such as the first flyby of the moon by Pioneer 4 in 1959. And the first piloted Mercury spacecraft with Alan Shepard aboard Freedom 7 in 1961.

We also recall John Glenn. He became the first American to circle the Earth aboard Friendship 7 in 1962. Plus Edward White performing the first American spacewalk in 1965.

And perhaps the single greatest accomplishment in American space history. Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin walking on the moon in 1969.

Mars Lander Sends Striking Images

But there have been many more other momentous events in NASA history. Including some events just within the last couple of months.

A few weeks ago, NASA’s Mars InSight lander touched down on the Red Planet. That landing followed a seven-month, 300 million-mile trip.

The lander’s Instrument Deployment Camera then took images. And sent them back to Houston.

These images will help NASA decide exactly where to deploy the lander’s instruments. The aim is to solve mysteries about the interior of Mars. Including its structure and how heat flows through it.

Scientists also hope to gather information to explain how Mars and other planets were formed.

Mars Is Worth Listening To

And speaking of Mars – or in this case, listening to Mars – NASA pulled off a first earlier this month.

For the first time ever, sound was recorded on another planet’s surface. The lander recorded audio of the Mars wind, which scientists estimated at 10 to 15 miles per hour.

An air pressure sensor and a seismometer detected the vibrations.

The sound was described as a bassy, vibrating rumble deflecting off the lander’s seven-foot solar panels.

Boomers Keep Eye on NASA Research

Not all NASA’s recent breakthroughs are as dramatic as landing on another planet. But some of them may have purposes that will positively affect our lives for many years.

For example, there are many physical ailments that may someday be better dealt with or possibly even cured. All from research done in space.

These advancements could be especially important to a certain group of people: Baby Boomers. This aging generation religiously followed NASA’s exciting advances during the Fifties and Sixties.

Some of those advancements Baby Boomers followed include the restoration of vision and wound healing. Plus dealing with bone density loss, muscle issues, and E. coli and salmonella contaminations.

‘Profound Potential’ to Help Us

Former NASA astronaut Terry Virtis logged 212 days in space. And experienced more than 19 hours executing spacewalks.

He says recent experiments conducted in a zero-gravity environment have a “profound potential” to help people on Earth.

Some of the experiments on the International Space Station will be made to help improve macular degeneration. That’s the name for vision loss that affects more than 10 million Americans.

“One of the advantages in zero gravity is that you can grow things like tissues or crystals where there’s no weight,” Virtis said.

This helps scientists better understand the structure of the cross-gene involved in many cancers.

A Vision for the Future

Advances in vision improvement are what many aging people look forward to the most. Involved in this effort is a Boston-based group called LambdaVision.

They have created a retinal protein based on an eye implant. They want to learn if it can help with macular degeneration.

Dr. Mike Roberts is Deputy Chief Scientist for the International Space Station National Lab. He says they intend to create a new eye prosthetic for those suffering from a variety of retinal and eye diseases.

Roberts said this about Lambda Vision working in a zero-gravity environment. “They may be able to form better retinal protein layers and help improve the manufacturing process on Earth.”

As with all scientific experiments, there are many “ifs” and “maybes” involved. But there’s one thing we know for sure. NASA will continue to conduct groundbreaking research to keep America on the cutting edge of technology.

And hopefully the result will be people experiencing better health as they age.


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