Nasa launches more apps than any other government agency in the world, the Office of the Chief Technologist of Nasa said.
Among them is a superconductor material that lowers costs of medical imaging devices, or an instrument for measuring ocean colour to advance understanding of marine ecosystems. Many of the applications and inventions seemingly don’t have much in common with space – for example NASA’s need to standardise its extensive web portal with many affiliated web sites helped to launch an entirely new cloud computing technology. A joint project with Texas-based Rackspace, the open source software OpenStack, formerly known as NASA.net and Nebula, has attracted nearly 2,500 developers and 150 companies since its launch in July 2010.
Another example that seems to have little to do with actual flying to space is archiving software called Waterfiche, developed by New York based NanoArk. It can archive and preserve documents and records for 500 years. Commenting on the launch of the Spinoff 2012 app, Nasa’s administrator Charles Bolden said: "There is more space in your life than you think."
The Spinoff 2012 app is an interactive, magazine-like iPad incarnation of the agency’s annual publication which details the stories of space-born innovations that managed to break into the commercial sphere in various fields such as information technology, health and medicine, transportation, public safety, consumer goods, energy and environment, and industrial productivity.