NASA and auto racing may have more in common than you think. Aside from a serious need for speed, both the spacemen and racers need things like fire resistant paints and heat-resistant materials. NASA of course has made significant advances in these and many other areas, many of which are directly translatable to the world of racing.
To shed some light on these commonalities, NASA launched “Rockets to Racecars,” an interactive website showcasing the space program’s contributions to racing. Partnering with a few race teams, NASA has been able to further develop technology used on the now-defunct Space Shuttle program for race cars. Thermal Protection System blankets have been used to insulate space shuttles when they are in orbit. Now, TPS blankets line the inside of race cars to help bring the temperature inside the car down between 30 and 50 degrees.
“NASA’s exploration missions have a huge impact here on Earth,” said David Weaver, associate administrator for NASA’s Office of Communications in Washington.” This interactive website demonstrates the scope of NASA’s space technology and research efforts.”
Icons on the screen help with navigation through the site, showing where and how certain technologies help modern day race cars. If you click on one of the icons a short description is read aloud about how these technologies help the modern day racer. Along with the website is an exhibit sharing the same name visiting race tracks all over the U.S. A scale replica race car is featured in the exhibit showing off some of the newest technology NASA has developed for both racing and its shuttles. The “Rockets to Racecars” site is also present throughout the exhibit giving people a chance to interact with it while getting hands on experience.