Space Technology is all around us. Cellphones, food, automobiles, healthcare, banking, video games, clothing - you name it, it's probably got technology originally developed for use in space that makes it better. NASA's original charter in 1958 mandated that technology transfer would be part of our future in space, and we're all better off because of it.
Look closely at your beer, and you might see a rocket inside - or at least a significant amount of space technology bubbling about. For example:
- GPS is used by farmers to grow better barley, and earth imaging from satellites helps monitor crop and moisture conditions.
- Advanced purification techniques developed for clean water in space often help purify water that gets turned into beer. Wastewater treatments using plants, employed by New Belgium and other brewers, were tested and developed for manned space missions.
- Orbital welding techniques, perfected during construction of Apollo launch facilities, are used to fabricate the intricate, twisting plumbing inside growing breweries around the world.
- Ultra-tiny, ultra-precise calibration spheres, originally manufactured in microgravity onboard orbiting spacecraft, are used to calibrate yeast counting instruments - helping brewers improve beer production and quality control.
- Photovoltaic panels, used to power operations at hundreds of breweries, were improved, perfected, and improved again through decades of space-based mission needs.
- Air curtains - another space spinoff - are used in retail stores to keep coolers cool and cold ones ready to buy.
- Those 36 channels of weekend sporting events you see at your favorite sports bar? They're beamed from geosynchronous satellites, 23,000 miles far above the nearest football or baseball field.
Cheers to Space Technology!
Space technology really is everywhere, and it comes at a bargain price. Less than one-half of one percent of our national budget is spent on space exploration. And the really funny thing is that all of the money is spent right here on earth. Sure you have your LockMarts, your Boeings, your NortrhropGrummans that get hefty cuts of the space budget pie. But you've also got your up-and-comers: Sierra Nevada, Space-X, Virgin Galactic. While the USA and Russia have been dominant for decades, the whole world is blazing into space today - China, India, France, Germany, Japan, and dozens of others are launching into orbit and beyond.
And no matter who figures out a better way to explore space, we all benefit in thousands of ways, big and small. Public safety, transportation, medicine, communication, energy - space technology makes just about everything better.
In making our Beer, Wine, & Spirit Drinker's Guide to Colorado, for instance, we used data captured from SRTM radar onboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-99 in February 2000) to improve the accuracy and fine detail of our map graphics. And take a look at our 14er list. Pikes Peak, once measured at 14,110 feet tall, today comes in at 14,115 feet tall. It didn't grow. Teams of geodeticists used GPS satellite navigation systems to re-measure famous geographic features around the world, and today we use the updated, highly-accurate info in our table of 14ers.
For using space technologies like GPS and space-borne radar data, the Beer, Wine, & Spirit Drinker's Guide to Colorado is officially recognized as a Space Imagination Product by the Space Certification Program of the Space Foundation. Cool, huh?