Sunday, January 30, 2011

NASA & Ice Hockey

While in Michigan Fuzz and I had to visit an ice rink. While I am not the biggest Detroit Red Wings fan, I am one big hockey chick! (my team are the San Jose Sharks!). 

So, Fuzz and I put on some hockey gear and some ice skates. Once on the ice we just had a lot of fun. "How does this tie back to NASA?" you might ask. Well, besides the fact that a lot of NASA employees play hockey, there are many other ties. Here are just three examples:

Since its dawning days, NASA has been at the forefront of developing and improving materials for aerospace applications. In particular, NASA requires dramatic advancements in material properties to enhance the performance, robustness, and reliability of its launch vehicles, spacecraft, and the International Space Station. Such advancements over the years include noise-abatement materials, fire-resistant fibers, heat-absorbing insulation, and light-but-strong mold- able composites.  

In 1991, a new carbon fiber called a carbon nanotube was discovered and fully substantiated by a Japanese electron microscopist. Its dramatic strength and low density (20 times the tensile strength and one-sixth the density of steel) were turning the heads of materials scientists and engineers all around the world, including those who developed equipment for NASA. After more research and testing a partnership with Zyvex Corporation developed a carbon nanotube-enhanced composite and later developed the revolutionary Easton Synergy SL composite hockey stick. It increases stick strength while reducing weight. It is lighter (420 grams) and stronger than its predecessor, and has a new blade design that yields unmatched performance.
The manipulation of materials on a molecular scale is leading to lighter-but-stronger hockey sticks. Pictured here is Easton Sports, Inc.’s Synergy SL product, featuring Zyvex Corporation’s NanoSolve technology.

In 2006 technology developed for NASA by Henry Ford Hospital helped determine whether a member of the U.S. Women’s Olympic Hockey team stays on the ice or heads for a hospital. Dr. Dulchavsky is principle investigator and team leader of a group of NASA scientists refining techniques for examining and treating sick or injured astronauts on the International Space Station. His team developed a training program that, in just a few hours, teaches non-medical crew members how to use portable ultrasound equipment to help diagnose an injury. The ultrasound images are transmitted by satellite to radiologists at Henry Ford, who read them and make a diagnosis.

The procedure got a test run with the Detroit Red Wings in 2004. Team trainers were taught how to use the ultrasound device using the NASA training methods. A portable ultrasound device was placed in the team’s locker room and was connected through the Internet to a computer at Henry Ford. While viewing the images online at the hospital, a radiologist guided the trainers as they performed ultrasound tests on players. When a player was injured during a game, a quick diagnosis could be made in the locker room.

Jay Feaster, general manager of the National Hockey League's 2004 Champion Tampa Bay Lightning, stands next to the Stanley Cup, which he brought to KSC while on a tour. The cup sits next to the orbiter Discovery in the Orbiter Processing Facility. The cup was also available for viewing by employees in the KSC Training Auditorium.
And even Lord Stanley, the royal trophy of the National Hockey League has visited NASA. In 2004, when Tampa Bay Lightning won the Playoffs, the Lord Stanley was brought to KSC, the Kennedy Space Center. At the time Lady Discovery was in the Orbiter Processing Facility and Lord Stanley was placed next to Discovery. The more than 100 year old trophy, which weights 35 lbs, looked as glamourous as the space vehicle
The Stanley Cup weighs 35 pounds and is more than 100 years old.
Always wear protective gear!

Fuzz getting his skates on!

Team spirit!


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