Innovating in Space


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Greetings. Today marks the end of a remarkable era as Atlantis–the final space shuttle flight–is about to take off from Florida. And you can follow the pre-launch and launch live at

It’s been an amazing and at times tragic thirty years of exploration that has taught us a great deal about the amazing world just beyond our planet. But that’s not all, because in the process of pushing our thinking about the universe that surrounds us, NASA has–in partnership with leading companies and research institutions–also stretched our thinking about important challenges and opportunities we face here on earth. The result has been some brilliant innovations that include:

  • Advances in artificial heart pumps;
  • Non-fiberglass home insulation;
  • Automotive insulation that protects NASCAR drivers;
  • Invisible dental braces;
  • Scratch-resistant lenses;
  • Memory form and “Tempur-Pedic” mattresses;
  • Infrared cameras to locate hot spots in fires;
  • Adjustable smoke detectors;
  • Infrared ear thermometers;
  • Highway safety grooves;
  • Athletic shoe insoles that reduce shock and enhance spring;
  • Lightweight cordless tools;
  • Water filter technology;
  • Heat-activated tire patches;
  • Bacteria used to purify wastewater and clean oil spills;
  • Improvements in medical ultrasound technology;
  • Image sensors used in cell phone cameras;

And amazing breakthroughs that enable golf balls to travel farther.

The big question is what’s next for NASA and the exploration of space. Will the agency (and the nation) find a compelling new mission in space that spurs even greater discovery and innovation…such as the journey to Mars? Will the private sector fill the void? And, are there real entrepreneurial opportunities for which space plays a critical role? We know that several entrepreneurs are about to offer flights into near-earth orbit. But clearly there’s more to space that quick trips and bragging rights for the rich and curious.

Opportunities that should spark our imaginations…

We win in business, life, and space exploration when we dare to learn even more from all of our adventures. And when we continue pushing the bounds of what we know and where we live.

Cheers and fly safely!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Alan Gregerman
Alan Gregerman is an award-winning author, consultant and keynote speaker who has been called "one of the most original thinkers in business today" and "the Robin Williams of business consulting." His work focuses on helping companies and organizations to unlock the genius in all of their people in order to deliver the most compelling value to their customers.


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