NASA's new frontiers in Web site design

Interactive Home and City site wins top government prize at Webby Awards

THE WEB SPACE. A common defense against complaints that space exploration is a waste of time and money is to point out all the modern conveniences that have come from space technology.

NASA puts them all in one place with NASA @ Home and City, an interactive Web site that took home the top government prize at the Webby Awards on June 14. We don’t know if NASA intended it as a response to critics, but the site does serve as an educational tool, and a good example of what agencies can do on the Web.

The site details the items found in the home that have their origins in space flights, including better clothing and athletic shoes, temper foam, wireless headsets, scratch resistant and UV-blocking glasses, and water and air filter systems, among many others. You can visit the rooms in the house, click on an item and get the explanation.

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In the city section, you can find out how space travel has improved air travel. Collision avoidance systems, anti-icing systems, and cabin pressure devices are just a few of the air safety technologies that grew out of the space program. Elsewhere in the city, you can learn about improvements to cars, public safety systems, maritime vessels, medical tools, food packaging, manufacturing and even sports technologies.

Other government sites named as finalists in the Webby Awards were those of the U.S. Air Force, which features numerous interactive features, including avatars; the Census Bureau, which details the 2010 count, and the San Ramon, Calif., Fire Department, which provides a lively and informative public service.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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