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October 26, 2000

Linda Matthews-Schmidt/Gina Johnson
Johnson Space Center, TX
(281) 483-5111

Release: J00-70

Special Preview Offers Media an Inside Look at Space-Age Technologies

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 high.

“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.

 

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