Barbara Askins was a NASA chemist at the famed Marshall Space Flight Center. There she was challeneged with the task of inventing a way to improve astronomical and geological photos taken from space. The current photos were often fuzzy and lacked definition.
Barbara’s invention involved the use of radioactive materials to enhance negatives. It turned out that these radioactive materials could also be used to enhance images even after the pictures had been developed. Barbara received a patent for her invention in 1978 and her method was used by NASA with great success.
Her invention was also adopted outside of NASA for a variety of other uses, including improving the clarity of x-rays and restoring old photographs. Barbara was honored as the National Inventor of the Year in 1978.