Today, in accordance with a 1971 Presidential proclamation, the United States commemorates the first human setting foot on the moon. As a science agency, NNSA’s technology and development have given rise to extraterrestrial innovation and enabled other-worldly achievements. From building the hardware that help scientists reach outer space to modeling the physics that both explain and make space exploration possible, NNSA’s labs and sites are at the forefront of American space ingenuity.
Capabilities at NNSA’s labs that were created to support NNSA’s stockpile stewardship and nonproliferation missions are ideal for testing spacecraft materials against the harsh environments endured during space travel. Highlights of these efforts include:
NNSA’s Y-12 National Security Campus helps create fuel for NASA’s long-range space exploration missions, while Los Alamos lab helps chemically process and package the fuel.
NNSA’s Savannah River Site produced the plutonium used to power NASA’s Pluto flyby probe. More than 27 space missions have used plutonium-driven power sources, including 10 in Earth orbits, five moon missions, three Mars missions and nine planetary missions.
Among some of the most exciting work conducted at NNSA’s laboratories is for planetary defense – detecting, tracking, and planning deflection missions for asteroids that might collide with Earth. All of NNSA’s labs participate in the planetary defense effort.
Last week NNSA’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) co-hosted DisrupTech, a community event aimed at connecting innovation from the lab to community members and industry leaders to encourage technology transfer.
The title comes from the world-changing technologies the lab’s scientists deliver, which have the potential to disrupt existing markets and create new ones. The Richard P. Feynman Center for Innovation at Los Alamos co-sponsored the event, which featured entrepreneurial-minded Los Alamos scientists with ideas for groundbreaking technology. These researchers presented their technologies to a private-sector panel in hopes of garnering support to bring the ideas to industry.
The awards highlighted recent advancements in the areas of digital manufacturing and 3D printing as well as continuous improvement projects that reduce costs, streamline processes and enhance overall safety and security of operations.
Now in its 12th year, the Manufacturing Leadership Council Awards honor organizations and individuals that are shaping the future of global manufacturing. They look for projects and individual manufacturing leaders demonstrating achievement across a wide-array of domains including sustainability, operational excellence, innovation, supply chain management and others.
Fire season is in full swing in the driest parts of the United States, and capabilities of NNSA’s labs are helping equip firefighters in the heated battle to save property and environment.
NNSA’s labs are perfectly suited to support emergency response related to fire. A long history of adapting to climate change has prepared NNSA researchers at NNSA labs for a cascade of climate related impacts: drought, wildfires, and historic flooding.
Strategies resulting from experience not only put powerful computing to work to simulate complex physical phenomena, but also increase coordination and communication between Federal, state, and local agencies in the regions surrounding NNSA’s labs. Preparedness through science-based strategies and communication processes help identify and aggressively manage risk from fire.
One NNSA-lab-supported technology and company is helping model and predict where wildfires are most likely to spread or where traffic congestion will occur by projecting an interactive, three-dimensional model onto a tabletop sand surface. With algorithms that include camera-based object-tracking and projection developed by the lab, the emergency operations team can simulate a wildland fire spreading across any terrain. The system takes into account weather, vegetation and fuel conditions.