As one might imagine, NASA employees utilize some serious high tech gadgetry. And as it stands right now, every time an engineer needs a microprocessor-controlled power tool or space-proof half-ratcheting torque wrenches for a specific project, they put in an order for a new one. That ends up creating a decent amount of redundancy, with different subagencies ordering the same high-tech parts, or failing to find suitable used ones.
So, one NASA employee has a bright idea -- start the most futuristic tool-lending library the world has ever seen. Matthew Ritsko, a NASA employee from Maryland has put the scheme forward as a cost-saving measure, as part of the Obama administration's SAVE initiative, which asks government employees to submit ideas for paring down federal expenditures.
Here's Ritsko's full proposal:
At Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA employees purchase specialized tools and ground support equipment for developing and building flight projects. Many of the tools are not tracked once projects are complete, and as a result funds are wasted on duplicative purchases. In order to cut down on repeat purchases, Matthew suggests creating a centralized tool repository — or "lending library" — where these tools can be stored, catalogued, and checked in and out by NASA employees.The proposal is actually part of a friendly competition to find the best ideas for efficiently cutting costs without sacrificing efficacy in government, so go vote for the tool library if you back the idea.
Which you should, because it makes perfect sense. If you're a longtime Treehugger reader, you probably know how much we appreciate tool lending libraries, as well as other product service systems (like libraries, say) that more efficiently facilitate sharing and reuse, and offer an alternative to unfettered consumption. Having NASA step forward with a high tech, high profile system would be a boon for the concept in general, and may help encourage the spread of tool libraries across the U.S.