NASA Innovates

Mission: Control the Spread

NASA continues to benefit humanity. The space agency is helping with innovations to support a global response to coronavirus (COVID-19). Our newest exhibit Mission: Control the Spread explores how crisis sparks innovation, and it demonstrates how NASA is helping with the response to COVID-19.

NASA JPL Pulse Pendant
PULSE Pendant designed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to remind the wearer not to touch their face.
In this temporary exhibit, discover how NASA is gaining new understandings of the coronavirus and offering solutions to some of the challenges presented by the pandemic in pioneering ways.

This new exhibit explores topics such as how NASA uses supercomputers to mimic the virus, why astronauts study vaccines in space and how NASA quarantines space station astronauts before and after missions.

Gain a better understanding of how viruses work and how our bodies react to them. See how viruses spread and watch the Earth Observation Dashboard to learn how the global response to the coronavirus can be seen from space.

Find out how NASA is working to help keep us safe and see some of their amazing innovations on display in this exhibit including wearable technology, ventilators and sanitizing equipment.


NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) designed a special breathing machine called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally).

The device is designed to treat patients who may not require a full-featured ventilator, thereby keeping the nation’s limited supply of traditional ventilators available for patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms.

VITAL poses several benefits in the national response to COVID-19. It can be built faster and maintained more easily than a traditional ventilator, and is composed of far fewer parts, many of which are currently available to potential manufacturers through existing supply chains.

See a model of VITAL on loan from STARK Industries, LLC.

PULSE Pendant

PULSE is a 3D-printed wearable device that pulses, or vibrates, when a person’s hand is nearing their face. The haptic feedback from a vibration motor simulates a nudge, reminding the wearer to avoid touching these entryways to reduce potential infection.

As health officials advised the world to continue washing our hands, social distancing, and wearing a face mask, a team of three at JPL designed PULSE, to stand side-by-side with these efforts to keep us as healthy as possible.

See a PULSE pendant produced in house using JPL instructions.

Positive Pressure Helmet

NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center teamed up with Antelope Valley Hospital, the city of Lancaster, Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company, and Antelope Valley College to develop an oxygen helmet.

The Aerospace Valley Positive Pressure Helmet is an oxygen hood prototype developed by NASA engineer Mike Buttigieg. It functions like a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and can be used on patients exhibiting mild cases of the virus.

Pure oxygen can be pumped into the helmet, pressurizing it and pushing air into the wearer’s lungs. The infected exhaled breath is filtered through the exit valve. The helmet is secured to the chest with straps.

See the helmet donated by NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center.

AMBUstat™ Surface Decontamination System

AMBUstat is the first affordable and easy to use bio-decontamination program, designed specifically for prehospital and public heath spaces, utilizing an atomized cold sterilant to decontaminate surfaces that ultraviolet light cannot reach effectively. The AMBUstat program makes it easy and cost effective to achieve a reduction in surface-borne pathogens across a multitude of spaces that were previously considered inconceivable.

AMBUstat uses a small fogger to create a mist with a solution that consists of water, peracetic acid, and hydrogen peroxide. Peracetic acid and hydrogen peroxide are both excellent disinfectants, and mixed together in a solution tend to be more stable and work at lower concentrations.

Make your own COVID-19 Respirator

One of the most important methods to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This mitigates the risk of infection. However, because of the pandemic, these have been in short supply. In response, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) designed a solution and made it accessible to anyone.With this activity, you can create your own.

Learn more

NASA helps design device that cleans ambulances with mist

Ambulances are crucial for health emergencies, but they often transport sick people. Microbes and bacteria can linger, so how do ambulance crews ensure their vehicle is safe and ready for the next patient? An innovative new product, designed with NASA’s help, aims to sterilize the rig and gear to make it safer for the patients and the paramedics.

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NASA designs ventilator for COVID-19 patients

NASA engineers designed a new ventilator tailored specifically to treat COVID-19 patients. The device, called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally), is designed to treat patients who might not require a full-featured ventilator, thereby keeping the nation’s limited supply of traditional ventilators available for patients with the most severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Learn more

NASA develops oxygen helmet for COVID-19 patients

Engineers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California have joined a specialized task force in designing and testing a new oxygen hood to treat COVID-19 patients.


Build your own PULSE Pendant

Explore engineering to 3D print your own wearable that will remind you not to touch your face. PULSE is a simple technology that can be reproduced by anyone with basic soldering skills.

Materials & Instructions

Earth Observing Dashboard

The Earth Observing Dashboard is an international collaboration to combine resources, technical knowledge and expertise to strengthen our global understanding of the environmental and economic effects of COVID-19. The dashboard is a concerted effort between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).


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