Wednesday, February 8, 2012

NASA and the Super Bowl

Of course, it would be considered impossible for anyone but a geek to do this, but...

Imagine that you scheduled a trip, and didn't check the travel schedule very closely.  As a result, your flight home occurred while hundreds of thousands of people were descending on your city to one of the biggest sports events of the entire year.

Actually, if your home airport is Indianapolis, this happens every year for Memorial Day weekend.  (It's that 500 mile race we have at the motor speedway near the airport.  You might know we are very proud of that race--so much so, it's on our state quarter.)  But last week, you might have noticed some news reports and some late night TV shows from Indianapolis, and a particular football game last Sunday night.    Clearly, sports get a lot of attention in Indiana... but I was pleased to see NASA provide some links to the game.  Not only was there a Landsat photo of Indianapolis from space, but even an acknowledgment of critical Super Bowl technologies that were spin-offs of NASA innovations.  You will want to check the article in more detail, but I will spare you the suspense:

1.  Foam padding for helmets and pads

2.  Anti-scratch visors for helmets

3.  Cushioning material for shoes

4.  Moisture-wicking garmets

5.  Wireless headsets in helmets

6.  Video stabilization software

So, whether you were rooting for the folks who play their home games in East Rutherford, NJ, or the folks who play their home games in Foxboro, MA, when you take a look at the picture of Mario Manningham's feet landing inbounds during a critical pass in the 4th quarter... yeah, NASA was responsible for that technology.  And I could feel justified for being a fan.  (Of NASA spin-offs.  No comment on the teams in the game.)

And now, back to basketball season...  (Did I mention that we like our sports here in Indiana?)