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United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration -- Innovation, Astronautics Technology transfer, Space sciences -- Research -- United States, Developing countries -- Technology


The NASA Johnson Space Center Social Innovation program has been designed to encourage innovation within the NASA community that benefits both NASA's core mission as well as human needs domestically and internationally. By encouraging internal and external collaboration and providing resources including the new Johnson Space Center "Sandbox" design shop, new innovations are anticipated. Technologies developed for the human exploration of space share similar requirements with appropriate technology for the developing world. The technology goals of keeping people alive in a difficult environment involve addressing requirements for low maintenance and robustness and often include using renewable energy sources. Technologies developed to address these challenges have crossover between these engineering fields. Innovations in either field may have applicability in both. This program is intended to be an alternative method of developing technologies and expertise within the NASA community, while simultaneously demonstrating NASA relevance and contribution to improving life here on Earth. By recognizing that innovation can come from unexplored and unexpected places, this program can create an environment where NASA engineers are able to collaborate with non-traditional partners in addressing critical NASA needs.


Presented at the 41st International Conference on Environmental Systems, Portland OR, 2011. Available at



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