Space Products & Innovation
Governance, Education, and Infrastructure
Technology designed to detect life on Mars has been developed into a portable device that can detect explosives and chemical agents. The technology is based on ion mobility spectrometry (IMS), a fast and sensitive method for separating and identifying gaseous molecules.
Satellite GPS tracking data is helping to recover stolen automobiles and increase employee accountability. General Motors has installed a Stolen Vehicle Slowdown capability in 1.7 million of its new vehicles since the service’s creation in 2007.
In May 2010, a researcher at Purdue University used a combination of NASA satellite imagery and information from Google Earth to determine that North Korea was conducting illegal logging operations in a U.N.-protected forest.
The Open Initiative on the Use of Space Technologies to Support the World Heritage Convention is a program sponsored by ESA and the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The Open Initiative focuses on the use of satellite imagery to identify and protect U.N.-designated world heritage sites and alert local authorities to changes that could pose a threat to those sites.
Since 1995, NASA, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) have operated the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program.
In June 2010, it was announced that data returned by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft had been used to discover a previously unknown cave on the Martian surface. This discovery was made not by NASA scientists, but by a group of 16 seventh-grade science students at a middle school in Cottonwood, California, through the joint NASA-Arizona State University Mars Student Imaging Program (MSIP).
Many public service applications require fusion of information from a variety of sources, including space. A few examples include emergency response, land use planning, and the monitoring of critical infrastructure.
The fusion of GPS and satellite-based communication technology has resulted in unique consumer applications. In one example, the SPOT Satellite Messenger, marketed by a subsidiary of telecommunications provider Globalstar, provides notifications when users need emergency assistance or simply want to tell friends or family of their location.
Satellite communications technologies are fast becoming an integral part of global education infrastructure. In an application known as tele-education, satellite communications are used to provide educational content to networks of schools and classrooms dispersed across countries and regions.