Press Release

Special Preview Offers Media an Inside Look at Space Age Technologies

By SpaceRef Editor
October 26, 2000
Filed under

Linda Matthews-Schmidt/Gina Johnson

Johnson Space Center, TX

(281) 483-5111

Release: J00-70

WHAT: Media representatives are invited to see first-hand how NASA
technology benefits life on Earth during a preview of the Johnson Space
Center’s Inspection2000.

Media can preview some of the technologies that will be exhibited during
Inspection2000, an annual event offering professionals from industry,
business, community leaders and educators an opportunity to discover
NASA technologies and processes that might be applied to their own
activities. The three-day event begins at 9 a.m. Nov. 1.

“Firefighter Equipment Improvements” – Building 9 Using technology that
was developed for space suits, engineers are working on the development
of an advanced firefighting suit offering greater protection, endurance,
mobility and better communications. Devices for lighter weight breathing
air packs and improved infrared communications will be on display. A
prototype suit — the liquid cooling inner garment — could double the
time a firefighter can battle a blaze safely will be shown.

“Microencapsulation of Drugs” – Building 9 Learn about a revolutionary
drug delivery system, consisting of tiny microballoons, that provides a
new way of delivering multiple drugs to vascular tumors, greatly
eliminating the usual side effects of chemotherapy.

“Bioreactor” – Building 2 The rotating Bioreactor was developed as a way
to study the impact of microgravity on cellular growth on Earth and in
space. Typically, cells grown in petri dishes on Earth are flat and
one-dimensional. The rotating bioreactor allows researchers to grow more
accurate, three-dimensional cells – more like living cells – they can
then use to test new medical treatments and develop new ways to treat
disease, without risking any harm to their patients.

“Plants in Space” – Building 2 Lighting methods, nutrient delivery
systems and growing substrates such as zeoponic media are being studied.
Researchers found golf course greens benefit greatly from the use of
zeoponic media, an ecological-friendly soil amendment that provides
nutrients to the sandy soil root base and prevents loss of nutrient
minerals into the ground water.

“Tactile Situation Awareness System” – Building 9 The sense of touch
could help prevent disorientation in astronauts, pilots and telerobotics
operators using a Tactile Situation Awareness System (TSAS). TSAS uses
tactile stimulators called tactors, to provide an intuitive sense of
orientation, distance and speed to the operator relative to the Earth or
another object in the environment. TSAS reduces the visual demands and
can help the operator’s performance, especially when the workload is

“Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket” Sonny Carter Training
Facility (11:00 only) 13000 Space Center Blvd. Advanced rocket
technology that decreases the time in half required to reach Mars is
under development at the Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory. The
technology could reduce astronauts’ total exposure to space radiation
and lessen time spent in weightlessness, perhaps minimizing bone and
muscle mass loss and circulatory changes. NASA astronaut and Laboratory
Director Franklin Chang-Diaz will give a demonstration.

During the three days of Inspection2000, guests will see more than 270
technology exhibits, tour the center’s facilities, many of them unique,
and talk with scientists and engineers about technical challenges. JSC
employees work each day to expand the boundaries of human knowledge and
capabilities to meet the formidable challenge of human space flight. The
technologies they develop continue to find wide application in the
private sector and throughout society, from energy, transportation and
agriculture to medicine, communications and electronics.

WHO: Charlene Gilbert, Inspection2000 chair and acting director, Office
of Technology Transfer and Commercialization A host of researchers,
engineers, scientists and technology experts

WHEN: Oct. 31, 2000 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Self-guided tour of exhibits
11:00 to 12:00 p.m. Sonny Carter Training Facility

WHERE: Johnson Space Center 2101 Nasa Road One

IMPORTANT NOTE: Media wishing to join in this special event must notify
the JSC newsroom no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30 to arrange for
credentials. The newsroom may be reached at 281/483-5111, or requests
may be faxed to 281/483-2000.

After picking up credentials at Building 110, please proceed to the JSC
newsroom in Building 2 for an escort.

SpaceRef staff editor.