A database of NASA Spinoff technologies holds a set of amazing research papers that demonstrate the application of technologies developed for NASA's programs in the military and consumer spheres.
In my semi-humble opinion, anyone who asks the question "Why spend so much money on NASA?" needs to do three things:
- Go ask any kid if they would like us to be leading the world in the space race;
- Go read a classic science fiction book (anything by Isaac Asimov or Arthur C. Clarke should suffice); and
- Go take a look at this database of NASA Spinoff research projects.
Stretching across military and consumer applications from facilities advances (e.g., HVAC and firefighting technology developments for spaceships) to advances in skin care and drug delivery (e.g., advances in protein research), a quick search/browse through the database will surely surface some development affecting your industry, and just as surely leave some part of you asking, "Why aren't we as a nation spending more on this incredible innovation, intellectual property-generation and competitiveness engine?"
Bonus points for heading to the NASA Spinoff YouTube channel and (after watching this Caterpillar/NASA partnership video) watching celebrities as varied as John Madden, Ray Charles and Norah Jones deliver PSA testimonials on behalf of space-related investments. Hilarious and charming.)