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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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...
• 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.
• 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.
• 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...
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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