The Science Museum in London is hosting a space technology exhibition on "Spin-offs from Space", sponsored by the European Space Agency. The exhibition is in the Space Gallery of the Science Museum and opens to the public from 6 December.
All objects displayed in "Spin-offs from Space" have been developed as part of ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme. They represent just a few of the many successful transfers that have already taken place in recent years. Highlights on display include:
* A prototype waste recycler:
  Space function: Part of a prototype system for the MELISSA project that   will be used on extended space missions. Micro-organisms convert the   astronaut’s organic waste back into food, oxygen and water, supplementing   non-renewable supplies.
  Earth application: Waste recyclers developed from prototypes like this could   be used in the recycling of animal waste and for the development of sensors   in the biotechnology industries. Eventually equivalent systems may well be   fitted to many domestic houses.
* Shaped Memory Alloys:
  Space function: Shaped Memory Alloys (SMAs) can be used as simple   automatic mechanisms in order to avoid repetitive and time-wasting   procedures carried out by astronauts in space.
  Earth application: Surgeons can speed the healing process of broken bones   using SMAs. Dentists are now using SMAs to brace teeth more effectively.
* ANBRE space suit and MAMAGOOSE baby suit:
  Space function: Allows astronaut’s movements to be monitored accurately   and easily whilst in space. The suit contains elasticated sensors that can   measure the changes in angles between the astronaut’s limbs and body as   he or she moves around the spacecraft.
  Earth application: This technology is now being used to improve the design of   confined spaces such as aircraft cockpits and car interiors. It might also be   used to track the body movements of assembly line workers in order to   improve safety and efficiency. A smaller version of the ANBRE suit called   Mamagoose can now be used to monitor the movements of babies in intensive   care units.
* Artificial noses:
  Space function: These apparatus were flown in space to test new types of   highly accurate leak sensors. The ‘electronic nose’ was flown on board the   Mir space station and tested new conducting polymer detectors, while FIPEX   was flown in a Soyuz spacecraft during an unmanned sub-orbital flight and   tested innovatory solid oxide detectors.
  Earth application: New sensors that can be used in medicine, environmental   control and the food industry are now being manufactured in order to detect   disease and test the freshness of food.
Through its Technology Transfer Programme, the European Space Agency (ESA) has recognised the importance of helping other areas of industry to benefit from space research, and of easing the burden on public resources by adapting space technologies systems and know-how to meet the needs of the wider population of Europe.
Related Links
* Technology Transfer
* Science Museum of London
[Image 1:]
Mamagoose: a SIDS Monitoring Unit. (Photo: Verhaert)
[Image 2:] The ANBRE experiment provides an innovative tool to acquire the movement and posture of the limbs of a human test subject. (Photo: Verhaert)