NASA inventions that we use every day

NASA R&D (Research & Development)
A budget well spent
Floating in outer space with both feet on the ground
Memory foam mattresses
Motorcycle helmets
Computer Microchips
Early tumor detection (CAT Scan)
Cordless Tools
Google Earth
Smartphone cameras
Sunglass coatings
Powdered milk
Water pitcher filters
Sneakers
From the moon to the store
Smoke detector
Safer highways
Tang
Swimsuits
Anti-shatter visors
Computer mouse
Joystick
Transparent braces
Image resolution
In-ear thermometer
Freeze-dried food
Treadmill
NASA R&D (Research & Development)

When we speak of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), we immediately think of space, rockets, Mars, and lunar travel. But there is so much more!

Photo: NASA

A budget well spent

The enormous budget managed by this organization ($26,000,000,000 in 2023) also benefits the day-to-day lives of citizens worldwide.

Photo: NASA

Floating in outer space with both feet on the ground

And so it is, many of NASA’s contributions, inventions, and creations have had continuity in our daily lives. Would you like some examples? More than one might surprise you!

Photo: NASA / Unsplash

Memory foam mattresses

In 1987, NASA devised foam seats that protected astronauts during landing while the foam recovered its shape when released. To this day, many mattresses have this feature.

Photo: Max Vakhtbovych / Pexels

Motorcycle helmets

This memory foam is also used on the inside of motorcycle helmets.

Photo: Kenny Eliason / Unsplash

Computer Microchips

Today’s powerful computer microchips come from the integrated circuits of the Apollo mission’s flight-assist computers.

Photo: Jeremy Waterhouse / Pexels

Early tumor detection (CAT Scan)

Computerized axial tomography (CAT), used today for tumor detection, was created to locate imperfections in spatial components.

Photo: National Cancer Institute / Unsplash

Cordless Tools

Cordless drills and vacuum cleaners were used to collect lunar samples. It didn’t take long for this technology to be applied to commercial tools around the world.

Photo: Benjamin Lehman / Unsplash

Google Earth

Obviously, it would be impossible to see the entire planet from above were it not for the images provided by the satellites sent into space.

Photo: SpaceX / Unsplash

Smartphone cameras

In the 1990s, NASA worked to develop image sensors that reduced the size of cameras to a minimum, while maintaining image quality. This idea was taken and improved upon by the principal smartphone manufacturers.

Photo: Ozgu Ozden / Unsplash

Sunglass coatings

NASA’s search for a mechanism to protect astronauts from solar radiation led to the discovery of sunglass coatings. Obviously, it ended up being applied to sunglasses worldwide.

Photo: Sebastian Coman Travel / Unsplash

Powdered milk

It was in the 1980s that powdered milk was developed to improve astronauts’ nutrition. Later, someone thought it wasn’t a bad idea to use it for babies.

Photo: Howtogym / Unsplash

Water pitcher filters

The famous Brita pitchers and their method of filtering water were inspired by a revolutionary NASA technique that eliminated bacteria in the astronauts’ drinking water tank.

Photo: ColiN00B / Pixabay

Sneakers

NASA was looking for a training shoe that would withstand many hours of hard work. They started with rubber molds that cushioned the weight on the bottom but soon elevated to various fabrics and designs, inspiring the big brands.

Photo: Paul Volkmer / Unsplash

From the moon to the store

The soles manufactured today derive from the technology used to create those worn by Neil Armstrong in 1969, when he first stepped on the Moon.

Photo: NASA / Unsplash

Smoke detector

NASA developed a smoke detector with various sensitivity levels, thus avoiding false alarms.

Photo: Pascal Meier / Unsplash

Safer highways

NASA discovered that cutting fine grooves in the roads helped drain water, reducing the risk of skidding. This advance was not only applied to highways but also airport runways.

Photo: Meriç Dağlı / Unsplash

Tang

Many people may not remember, but it was a powdered drink that became popular in the 1960s precisely because astronauts drank it, it was easy to transport, and because of its vitamin content.

Photo: Jaqueline Pelzer / Unsplash

Swimsuits

The technology developed by NASA to reduce the resistance of their suits in space was used by Speedo for its ultra-fast LZR swimsuits, which generated much controversy among professional swimmers.

Photo: Kindel Media / Pexels

Anti-shatter visors

From the 1960s, NASA worked to develop a high-strength material for helmet visors. After ten years of research, they produced a fail-proof formula that has since been applied to all visors, preventing shattering from every crash.

Photo: Elena Taranenko / Unsplash

Computer mouse

Neither Steve Jobs nor Bill Gates was behind this great invention. NASA worker Bob Taylor was looking for a simple way to make computers more interactive and accessible. If only referring to its usage in hundreds of millions of homes, we could be speaking of one of the best inventions in history.

Photo: Ilya Pavlov / Unsplash

Joystick

NASA used the first joystick in history on the Apollo Lunar Rover. After a significant simplification, they came to be used in all kinds of video games.

Photo: Steve Dimatteo / Unsplash

Transparent braces

You might not believe it, but NASA developed the ceramic used in transparent braces in collaboration with the company Ceradyne to protect the antennas of the homing missiles from infrared rays. From there to your teeth!

Photo: Aubrey Davis / Unsplash

Image resolution

NASA’s VISAR system helped to improve and sharpen blurred images which, in no time at all, were used in solving robberies, attacks, kidnappings, and other types of crimes.

Photo: Jose G. Ortega Castro / Unsplash

In-ear thermometer

Using a camera-like lens that detected infrared energy drifting into heat, NASA used this technology to monitor the birth of stars; now it is used for in-ear thermometers.

Photo: Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

Freeze-dried food

A technique that reduces the weight of nutrients while increasing the amount of food that can be transported, all without losing a single one of its properties.

Photo: K8 / Unsplash

Treadmill

NASA was trying to prevent the astronauts from suffering muscle atrophy and decreased bone density while on space missions, so they created the treadmill and other training machines that fill many gyms and homes today.

Photo: Ryan de Hamer / Unsplash

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