WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA has launched a new interactive online program that allows race fans to learn about the many contributions the agency has made to the racing industry. The "Rockets to Race Cars" site allows users to navigate through the NASA garage and learn about heat-resistant paint, fire-resistant materials, the development of better brakes and several other agency spinoffs that have helped the racing community.
NASA has partnered with several racing organizations to test their cars, while also using proven agency technology to make the racing industry safer and faster. For example, the Penske Racing team partnered with NASA in 1996 to find a way to keep their drivers more comfortable during races. Using scrap material from the Space Shuttle's Thermal Protection System (TPS) blankets, they were able to cool the driver's cockpit by 30 to 50 degrees. Race cars around the nation now regularly use the material.
"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."
Visitors can navigate through NASA's racing contributions by selecting from icons that appear on the bottom of the screen. Users receive a quick and entertaining description of how the contribution was developed and where it is used in the racing industry.
The interactive website complements a "NASA Rockets to Race Cars" exhibit that visits racetracks around the country. The exhibit features a scale replica race car that highlights some of the technology benefits NASA spinoffs provide to the automobile and racing industries. Visitors also can access the "Rockets to Race Cars" interactive feature through a touch screen monitor.