More NASA Spinoff Urban Myths

Small Glimmer of Hope for NASA in Houston, myFox

"Many will admit NASA has done a poor job proving its value to the American public. Some are asking what has the agency done to deserve nearly $20 billion in funding every year? "From the medical devices, fetal monitors for babies, to Lasik surgeries, MRI's, cell phones, the gps," says Mitchell."

Houston, we have a real problem, Opinion by Ed Perlmutter and Pete Olson, Denver Post

"The economic, scientific and technological returns far exceeded our investment. Observations from space have provided GPS, meteorological forecasts, predictions and management of hurricanes and other natural disasters, as well as surveillance and intelligence. Royalties on NASA patents and licenses go directly to the U.S. Treasury. NASA has been a solid investment because it does so much with so little."

Keith's note: I have to guess that the royalties paid on NASA patents are miniscule in comparison to what taxpayers have spent on NASA. Indeed, I suspect that if you were to put this to people who invest in new technologies in the private sector, that they'd tell you that NASA is a rather inefficient way to drive things from R&D to market. As for the NASA spinoffs that people often cite, no one ever runs a sanity check - GPS was "invented" and developed by DoD. As for "fetal monitors for babies, to Lasik surgeries, MRI's, cell phones" NASA was a bit player - at best - in pushing technologies that contributed to - but certainly did not create these and many other things. One would think that NASA would attempt to clarify such things when they appear in the news. There is some progress however: at least we don't hear about NASA inventing Teflon, Velcro, and Tang any more.

Previous NASA spinoff stories.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on April 5, 2010 1:45 PM.

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