The Phlebotemouse

Let me give you one small example. Intuitive Machines, Inc., recently developed a small device that looks much like a computer mouse. It allows medical technicians to nd a person’s vein, painlessly drawing blood or inserting an IV in the perfect place. The mouse achieves this by docking with the blood ves- sel, much as a space vehicle docks with the International Space Station. That’s because the software used to invent this mouse was, indeed, adopted from the software that docks space vehi- cles with the space station. The engineers at Intuitive Machines, many of whom were veterans of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, mined the knowledge ore to create something new, pro table, and good for humanity.

The Intuitive IV catheter (let’s call it a “phlebotemouse” for fun) is just one of hundreds of inventions created each year from the space knowledge ore. For every dollar spent on space, the knowledge ore brings back as much as $14. And that’s not counting the 65,000 jobs created by the space program—which uses private contractors to do most of the work. (Full disclo- sure: my boss, Cam Ghaffarian, cofounded Intuitive.)