Monday, November 26, 2012

26 NASA Inventions That We Take For Granted Everyday...


I'm sure we have all heard this, "Why are we supporting the space agency? I don't see it benefiting anyone at all".... 
The US as well as a number of other countries put a lot of their money into the space program. Many people question if the money could be spent 'better' in other areas and if investing in space exploration is even worth it... 
Unbeknownst to popular belief, there are many inventions from the space program that most everybody uses on a daily basis whether they know it or not. 

-check out a list below of 26 inventions that NASA has contributed to over the years: 

• CAT Scanners:  If you have ever been treated with a CAT scanner or know of a loved one who has, you have the space program to thank for this. This cancer-detecting tech was first used to find imperfections in space components.

• The Computer Microchip:  Modern microchips descend from integrated circuits used in the Apollo Guidance Computer.

• Cordless Tools:  If you have ever picked up a cordless tool you have NASA to thank for that. Power drills and vacuum cleaners were used to drill for moon samples.

• Ear Thermometers:  Commonly used in hospitals, the technology used in the ear thermometers originated from a camera-like lens that detected infrared energy used to monitor the birth of stars.

• Freeze-dried food:  This process reduces the food weight and increases the shelf life without sacrificing the nutritional value.

• Insulation:  With winter on its way, I'm sure you can thank NASA for this one...!! Home insulation uses reflective materials that protects the spacecraft from radiation.

• Invisible braces (teeth):  Teeth-straightening is less embarrassing thanks to transparent ceramic brace brackets made from spacecraft materials. 

• Enriched baby food:  NASA was experimenting with algae as a food supply for long space trips and found a component of algae has two fatty acids similar to those found in human breast milk. It led to the development of an enriched infant formula call Formulaid. 

• The Joystick:  Video Game enthusiast should know about this one... The joystick was first used on the Apollo Luner Rover.

• Light-Emitting Diodes (LED):  Developed by NASA,the red light-emitting diodes were used to grow plants in space. Later this technology was developed in medical devices for muscle pain relief/relaxation, joint pain, arthritis and muscle spasms. Later generations of the technology are used to combat the symptoms of bone atrophy, multiple sclerosis, diabetic complications and Parkinson's disease.

• Memory Foam:  I'm sure we've all seen the 'mattress TV commercials' highlighting this feature. This foam was first created for aircraft seats and helmets to soften landing and impact by absorbing shock and returning to its original shape. 

• Scratch resistant lenses:  Anybody who wears glasses, ski goggles, etc... can associate with this one. Astronaut helmet visor coatings make the lenses 10X more scratch resistant. 

• Shoe insoles:  Cushion insoles and even the air pocket found in most athletic shoes, first originated from NASA boot designs to lessen impact by adding spring and ventilation.

• Smoke detectors:  You know that thing on the ceiling that beeps every time you open the oven...?? Turns out this lifesaving device (adjustable smoke detector) was also invented by NASA. 

• Solar energy:  I'm sure we all have seen solar panels on top of buildings, houses and even on our desk calculator... Harnessing the sun's solar energy as a power source originated with the efforts of a NASA-sponsored 28-member coalition of companies, government groups, universities and non-profits to form the Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology Alliance (ERAST). Their goal (at the time) was to develop an unmanned aircraft that was able to maintain high altitude flight for days at a time... the solution: harnessing the sun's energy for power. 

• The Swimsuit:  NASA used the same principles that reduce drage in space to help create the world's fastest swimsuit for Speedo. This design was rejected by some professionals for giving them an unfair advantage... 

• Powdered Lubricants:  NASA scientists developed a solid oil-free lubricant capable of operating at high temperatures with increased reliability, lowered weight, reduced maintenance, lower friction, reduces emissions and increased power...

• The water filter:  I'm sure we have all used one of these things (i.e. Brita) NASA pioneered the technology to filter water and kill bacteria for water taken to space... 

• Space Blankets:  Silver and lightweight and resembling a giant sheet of aluminum foil, these sci-fi looking blankets are commonly used by mountain climbers and long-distance runners... they are even given out for free at almost every marathon. 

• Land mine removal:  NASA's surplus of rocket fuel is used to produce a flare that can safely destroy land mines. NASA is able to reduce propellant waste without negatively impacting the environment.  

• The Soaper Soaker:  If you don't know what this is then you didn't have a childhood.... :)
The world's most famous squirt gun was invented by Lonnie G. Johnson, a nuclear engineer who worked for the US Air Force and NASA. 

• Flame-resistant textiles:  After the tragic Apollo 1 launch that killed three astronauts in a fire, NASA developed a line of fire-resistant textiles used in space suits and vehicles. Today they are commonly used by firefighters, motor sports and other applications. 

• Thermometer Pill:  NASA developed an ingestible pill in the 1980s that wirelessly monitors the astronaut's core body temperature from the inside. Today this tech is used by athletic teams and professionals to monitor and keep the players safe.

• Conditioning equipment (work-out machines):  Commonly seen and used at fitness gyms, athletic departments and by physical therapists around the world. These machines were developed by NASA to keep the astronaut physically fit and to prevent muscle atrophy in zero gravity environments. 

• Long distance telecommunications:  Do you own a smartphone or ever made a long distance phone call...?? Before humans were even sent into space, NASA launched a bunch of satellites into Earth's orbit to monitor space and communicate to scientist on the ground. Overtime this technique/technology was adopted to over 200 communication satellites that connect us to our loved ones everyday... 

• Highway safety grooving:  Admit it... you (like me) have driven late at night and accidentally drifted to the shoulder of the road driving over this grooving... or maybe you noticed the gooving pattern on the road when approaching a stop sign. Either way, Safety Grooving was first experimented by NASA back in the 1960s as a way to improve safety for aircraft taking off on wet runways. According to NASA, safety gooving reduced highway accidents by 85% after going into effect... 


....So next time somebody asks, 'why the hell we are spending money and wasting our time on funding the space program'.... maybe this list will help explain why. 

I am amazed and find it curious to think of all the other technologies and engineering feats that have been 'shelved' or are being developed and not yet made it to the publics attention...

Helpful inventions developed out of these Space Missions not only create some lifesaving technologies and contribute to common everyday devices, but they also feed the human desire of curiosity and search for knowledge. Pushing the limits of design and engineering in the space program is akin to the exploration made by the Europeans centuries ago when exploring the oceans for new lands. If funding for exploration back then was cut off... the world as we know it would be an even smaller place.... and very very flat. 


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36 comments:

Mark Hunter said...

This is interesting that NASA was behind Cordless tools and Cordless Tool Kits. I thought it was some Japanese or Koreans invented cordless power tools.

Anonymous said...

Nasa didn't invented cordless tools, Black & Decker invented them but nasa did use them on their missions like apollo

chet rosales said...

Yes you are correct.
When it comes to cordless tools they originally invented by Robert Ridley Jr at Black & Decker in the 60s. NASA did provide early funding (via contract) to further develop cordless power tools. The first cordless tools in space was the cordless wrench during the Project Gemini mission in 1963.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, this is all mostly true, except all of you are right, that cordless power tools were in fact, not invented by N.A.S.A. Oh well, that's just one thing out of about 6,300!

Anonymous said...

this proves nothing we don't need the joystick people only think they do its not a necessity its a want not a need

hello kitty/cookie monster said...

i think nasa needs to invent more things we can use and not just things we want like the joystick we don't need it we want it

chet rosales said...

@hellokitty/cookie monster... The 'joy stick' is commonly related to video games, but it also has many other important implications as well. The Joystick is used in medical procedures, construction vehicles, military aircraft, helicopters and manny more valid reasons....

hello kitty/cookie monster said...

well chet rosales i did not know that but still we don't need the soaper soaker its a toy and there are some things we don't need

Anonymous said...

in regards to: hello kitty/cookie monster.
apparently you never had a childhood and/or don't realize that some inventions spur and influence other ideas that not only benefit progressive innovation, but also the inspire mundane daily life and the entertainment of children at play.

chet rosales said...

@hello kitty/cookie monster…
Yes, you are correct - people don't NEED a super soaker, but that isn't the point of this article. NASA priority isn't trying to solve the world's problems with the innovations they develop. I find it amazing how we as 'humans' push ourselves to create and innovate to achieve a shared goal (i.e. landing on the moon). The innovations and inventions that are conceived from the space program were originally intended for that single purpose. When we look around today these products have evolved into what we all see, use and take advantage of everyday… and yes, that also includes 'super soakers'.

hello kitty/cookie monster said...

this regards to anonymous and chet rosales
yes, but if they put more time and money into things we need like (i.e finding new life or building new and improved medicines) instead of creating stupid childish things maybe this world would not be going to @#$%&

Anonymous said...

hello kitty/cookie monster:
Again you are missing the point and just don't fully understand what NASA is doing. The engineers in the space program develop, invent and innovate new products and procedures to achieve their wondrous ambitious feats and discoveries.
As a 'result' and/or 'side outcome' of their hard efforts come these amazing products (listed above) that are then developed further by talented people, companies and entrepreneurs (most of the time) unrelated to NASA and the space program. Many of these products become very helpful products and many of which everyone has used and mostly take advantage of everyday without even knowing.

hello kitty/cookie monster said...

ok ok fine i give up NASA is creating stuff that's useful you guys win or girls!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Amazing to read about all the wonderfull things NASA helps to create. Space technology is important to develop and it's nice to see so many cool inventions come from it. Maybe a super soaker isn't as important, but think about other things they helped create. Smoke detectors, insuline pumps, water filters and other stuff do save lives.

I hope NASA will bring us much more amazing stuff and more compelling space travel. Can't wait for the next launch!

andy knows best said...

ok yoou cra cra

Anonymous said...

This website does not say the year NASA invented these useful things. If it did then my project would go by much more easily

Anonymous said...

hello kitty, why do we NEED to find new life? And while NASA can assist with developing new medicines, most of the research and development is done on earth by private companies. It seems you have something negative to say about any innovations made by NASA and space exploration. Also, the Super Soaker was invented by a single engineer in his spare time, because he was also a part time inventor. So no NASA did not waste vital money working on a super soaker project. You pulled the only two inventions that happen to look like toys, out of the hundreds that have come about. And of those two, neither were a waste of NASAs funds. Don't be so negative and learn to be more optimistic about future accomplishments as well.

Anonymous said...

@chet rosales...So, in other words, we spent all of this money FOR A SINGLE PURPOSE, but thankfully had some useful byproducts come out. Now they are looking for credit for "inventing" these products, when, at the time as you pointed out, they didn't realize their impact. Imagine if the medical field did this. "Well, we haven't cured AIDS, HIV, ALS, MS or cancer, but we did create wireless networking". It's a consolation. You like to see a common goal, like landing on the moon 50 years ago, well a lot are focused on cancer, which will affect more lives than taking pictures of planets, but that gets about 1/3 the funding of NASA. Other disease research pales in comparison to cancer.

chet rosales said...

(@Anonymous May,13 2015)
This post outlines technology that was invented and/or pushed further in result of NASA missions that the public (you and I) take for granted everyday.
I would love to do another post in the future listing innovative technologies we take for granted everyday that came from advancements in Medicine, Sports, The Entertainment Industry, Education, etc...

Thanks for the feedback and tip for future posts. much appreciated :)

John Schmidt said...

Oxygen generators.

Anonymous said...

look at this

Anonymous said...

you suck balls John

Anonymous said...

NASA did not invent work out machines. they were invented by Arthur Jones in 1970. i did not find any proof that NASA invented them but they did use them for sure

Anonymous said...

I think with or without NASA, a lot of these products would have came along anyway. When you start trying to credit the Super Soaker and Joystick as a justification, you're really stretching things. We're exploring here, that's still exciting....to me anyway. We waste a lot of tax-payer $, but I'm still all for strapping people to rockets and sending them up there, even if it's just to confirm we're surrounded but a bunch of uninhabitable rocks (thought I'm sure we learn more than this).

lillianduncan said...

you people should just stop they make stuff that is needed and not we didnt need memory foam but we made it there experimenting and learning new things so what if we need it or not they made and thats what matters most so stop whining and be happy it happend

Anonymous said...

Go here to see how much the average taxpayer actually gives NASA http://www.space.com/10849-nasa-budget-contribute.html

Aaron Nobel said...

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Dustin T

Anonymous said...

my favorite counter argument to this (because its soo stupid) i know they invented all that but why does that matter

Anonymous said...

I love money

Anonymous said...

well it is not required but is entertaining and i dont think you made anything this good also if its so stupid why are you on this site?

michael monkey said...

hi

lolgal111 Msp said...

Guys don't be rude just because you probable Researched up the wrong thing you were talking about! LAOROSA you did a great job wring about NASA and what we take for granted.

Anonymous said...

really

Anonymous said...

wow

Anonymous said...

great information learned lots and used many of this information for a project

JAKE BROWN said...

LOL SUPER SOCKER IN SPACE WOW

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