How much of this tech was developed for Earth herself? You’d be surprised. Many helpful and productive tools were first designed to join rovers, satellites, or astronauts after they blast off from the launch pad. This includes everything from solar cells and air purifiers to things like invisible braces, memory foam mattresses, and even baby food.
LASIK, which stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, adjusts shape defects in eyes, allowing people to get by without needing corrective lenses. It uses technology developed to track astronauts' eyes during periods in space. Why was this set, you ask?
To see how humans' frames of reference are affected by weightlessness. Super important, we assume. The tech has become essential during LASIK surgeries since the surgery requires a laser to strike exact spots on the eye. Someone awake may move their vision in infinitesimal motions several times a second, and this tech keeps the laser center. You see now, mission control?
Enriched Baby Formula
Yes, even that goop that your child eats was made for the original benefit of space. It turns out that the nutritional enrichment ingredient that is found in baby formula is none other than algae! NASA-sponsored research was attempting to see if algae could be used as a recycling agent during long space trips, potentially to other planets.
One thing led to another, and then the research discovered that the microalgae substance is highly nutritious, especially for growing babies that need all that good, fun stuff. It's now found in about ninety percent of baby formula in the United States.
A number of innovations that have come from the space race were put together to create advancements in artificial limbs. These include intense techs like artificial muscle systems, robotic sensors, diamond joint coatings, and more.
Most of these advances came from NASA creating robotic arms for space vehicles. Still, like a big, super complicated puzzle, scientists could also put them together to make artificial limbs that are more comfortable, functional, and closer to natural limbs than ever before. Mechanical body parts are pretty science-fiction when you think about it, so it makes perfect sense that they would come from space exploration.
Having an insulin pump could be a lifesaver. If you happen to be in space in a tiny tin can powered by explosions heading toward the moon (for instance), it's best not to worry about organ failure.
So the Goddard Space Flight Center created monitoring systems for the astronauts that go on missions that keep track of vital signs while away from medical facilities. In the case of an emergency, they want to know as soon as possible. Eventually, this system was modified to help regulate blood sugar levels and release insulin if necessary. Goddard Space, the world thanks you!
If you're the kind of person that loves a bit of green in the home, but you don't have the space for a real garden, these countertop gardens are just the ticket. It's obvious how this growing tech got its start.
NASA has a big interest in seeing if we can grow plants in confined places like the International Space Station or on larger ships that might be taking month- or year-long trips through outer space. Recently, astronauts successfully grew (and ate) a crop of romaine lettuce that never saw natural soil!
3D Food Printing
If you're on an extended space mission, it won't take that much time before you're sick of eating freeze-dried fruit and space ice cream. You'll get a big craving for a burger before too long. You might think that being able to make an authentic meal for yourself while in space is simply impossible, but that's not exactly true.
3D food printers were developed that let astronauts create food that fit the specific dietary preferences of people beyond the atmosphere. Now that tech is also being utilized to create food for diabetics and others that need to eat particular things.
The NASA Visualization Explorer
A lot of the stuff on this list is used to make everyday life easier, but what about making LEARNING easier? Well, NASA has done a little bit of that, too. They've come up with the NASA Visualization Explorer, an app for the iPad that delivers real-time satellite data of Earth.
This allows users of the app to learn more about plant life, oceans, the climate, and the many small pieces that work together to make our world. Often, small descriptions accompany segments of data, which add context or more information to everything that you're seeing.
In what seems like something truly out of a science-fiction story, people who have been deaf their entire lives are gaining the ability to hear using cochlear implants. One engineer at Kennedy Space Center, Adam Kisseh, was hard of hearing and was unhappy with the quality of available hearing aids.
So he focused his engineering skills on finding something that would work better and succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. His early cochlear implant technology used electrical pulses rather than simple sound amplification, and it's become something that can change the lives of those who have never heard a single thing.
You'd think that something as evident as home insulation wouldn't require us to get to the space age to figure it out, but here we are. Of course, everybody knew home insulation was a good thing, but the work NASA did was able to push it to the next level.
They came up with the insulation to combat the frighteningly cold temperatures of deep space using aluminized polyester they called Radiant Barrier. It's now one of the most popular methods of keeping homes and buildings insulated during those very cold winter months – it also keeps heat out during the summer!
A laptop might seem like a natural progression of things. Computers started with immense, room-filling machines, then they got down to freezer-sized gadgets, and finally, they could fit on desks. So it's no great leap of logic to think they would eventually become fully portable.
But it might interest you that NASA was also behind this handy advancement. The world's first laptop was the GRiD Compass, first used on a space shuttle mission in 1983, was a far cry from the computer systems we use today, but it was still a computer, and it was still portable, so it certainly counts.
NASA didn't come up with invisible braces to ensure the astronauts had perfect smiles for the press. The tech that plenty of people around the world now use to keep their teeth in order was initially made to track heat-seeking missiles.
No, really. We don't know how they got from that to invisible braces. Still, the material used, transparent polycrystalline alumina, is now something that you slip into your mouth instead of having heavy, bulky, and oh-so-unattractive braces drilled into your head. If you like your smile, you might have to thank NASA. And heat-seeking missiles as well, we guess.
Foul air is, and this may be a touch hyperbolic, the worst thing to ever happen to anyone in the history of the world. There is nothing worse that could possibly happen. Thankfully, NASA was on hand to help out with this terrible, terrible thing.
When they tried growing plants in the International Space Station, those same plants led to an ethylene buildup. Can't have that on a closed system. NASA came up with an air purifier that is now widely used in lots of places on the planet, such as in restaurants, hospitals, and even refrigerators. Ethylene hastens decay, and the filters also remove lots of other unfriendly particulates.
Pool Water Purification Systems
We bet you can guess why NASA wanted to develop this kind of technology: "pool parties on the moon?" The actual reason is that they needed a way to ensure that the water their astronauts were drinking was perfectly safe – pools of stagnant water are breeding grounds for all kinds of bacteria.
So they came up with an electrolytic silver iodizer to keep that all-important water as clean as possible. With such advancement, the pool industry would be perfect for keeping recreational pools cleaner without using as many chemicals, and with far less work. Let's hear it for NASA pools!
Why on Earth would NASA invent a dustbuster? Just how messy is the ISS? The story goes that they tasked the tool company Black+Decker, with developing a self-contained, portable drill that could extract samples from below the moon's surface, all the way back during the Apollo and Gemini space missions.
The company came up with a computer program to keep the motor running at max efficiency, and the program was spun off into the Dustbuster, a cordless mini vacuum cleaner. The vacuum itself wasn't made for the missions, but the special motor and computer running it was.
If you're going to be in space for a couple of days, a couple of weeks, a couple of months, or years, then you need to get the nutrients you need to keep your brain and body working at peak efficiency. That means fruit.
Therefore, NASA wanted to ensure that space snacks were portable and safe for long periods. To do so, they cooked the food, froze it, and slowly heated it in a vacuum chamber to eliminate ice crystals. The result is food with ninety-eight percent of its nutritional value and only twenty percent of its original weight.
Most lubricants work best as liquids, and that's how things were going for a long, long time. Practically the entire history of lubricants, if we're being honest. However, NASA knew there was a better way. They worked up a solid lubricant coating, which they named PS300. It's distributed by thermal spraying to protect, mainly, foil air bearings, something we're sure is quite important.
The material lowers friction, reduces emissions, and can be used in a number of other areas such as refrigeration compressors, turbochargers, and hybrid electrical turbogenerators. The tech was taken by ADMA with permission to create oil-free coatings for all sorts of areas of modern life.
Emulsified Zero-valent Iron
When NASA launches a rocket, many chemicals get released into the air. One of those chemicals, trichloroethylene, takes a long time to break down and is known to cause numerous health problems. Not good. If that kind of thing gets into the ground, it's a bad deal, and oops, it got into the ground.
Thankfully, a few scientists came up with a solution called emulsified zero-valent iron, which can be injected into groundwater. It breaks up the substance into non-toxic components. It's also useful for a lot of other dangerous compounds. So helpful that it was NASA's most-licensed technology as of 2010.
If the word Lifeshears has you a little confused, you might know them better by the generic slang name, jaws of life. This handy piece of equipment has helped free people from car crashes, collapsed buildings, and other dangerous places since they got into the hands of safety professionals.
This tech was actually developed for use during launches to separate the space shuttle from the rocket boosters. Lifeshears are the same kind of pyrotechnic mechanism, just on a much smaller scale. But trust us, the people that are trapped inside their cars are perfectly content to have it be on a smaller, usable scale.
High-Power Solar Cells
Solar panels are standard as the tech behind them becomes more reliable and effective, and we have NASA to thank for it.
The Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology Alliance (as well as the SunPower Corporation) has come up with high-performance and low-cost power cells that store a good amount of energy, and it was all to pilot remote aircraft that is light and agile. The cells are lightweight and can hold a lot of energy, which makes them perfect for boosting the feasibility of solar energy panels. They're likely used in lots of other places, too.
The rockets and shuttles of NASA need to stand up against the most extreme conditions humans can think of. Intense heat from rocket exhaust, unfiltered sunlight, and the near-absolute zero of space. Rocket launches occur near oceans, so they must stand up to water.
In the 70s, the Goddard Space Flight Center came up with a zinc dust and potassium silicate coating that resists rusting, which is costly and could potentially be deadly if corrosion settles in the wrong spot. The development was picked up for oil rigs, pipelines, bridge supports, and other places dealing with water and metal.
Adjustable Smoke Detectors
If you're the kind of person that leaves the pancakes on the pan for a little too long, this is the kind of advancement that you're glad to have around.
Thanks to a partnership with the Honeywell Corporation, NASA was able to improve smoke detector technology during the seventies, including coming up with a way to adjust the sensitivity so that you aren't constantly getting false alarms. Maybe this is because of the billowing smoke from welding or from lift-offs, but it's a nice advantage to have when you forget about the burger that you have on your stove grill.
If you're a parent or someone who works at a hospital, you've probably used one of these ear thermometers a time or two. Or a hundred. They're a lot quicker, simpler to use than the mouth version (not to mention all the other options), and more sanitary.
While NASA isn't responsible for coming up with the ear thermometer itself, they were the ones behind the infrared anatomy technology that the thermometers use to get an accurate reading. NASA joined with the company Diatek to create the tech, and now it's being used to ensure people are very healthy worldwide.
Speedo came out with the LZR racer swimsuit in 2008. So practical for swimmers, it was banned by FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation) during races because of unfair advantage! They were designed with the help of NASA to be low in friction, reducing drag in the water by as much as six percent. We guess that's a lot.
It also has a core stabilizer, which reduces unnecessary movement by the swimmer for a better lap. In addition, studies found that air bubbles would get trapped between the suit and the swimmer's body, providing lift in the water and less drag.
Water Detection Tech
Getting most of its data from publicly-available NASA information, Radar Technologies International (RTI) began in 1999, using satellite data to discover deposits of precious metals under the ground. Nice. Then, the company discovered the same kind of tech could be used to find underground water sources. Extra nice.
They developed WATEX, which allowed RTI to find hidden water sources all over the world, becoming instrumental in helping developing countries, those damaged by war or strife, or water-poor areas such as deserts. That's what we call the coveted triple nice.
Exercise machines are something we all have to (or get to) live amongst. You can thank and blame NASA for coming up with these things. Astronauts that spend more than a short amount of time in zero gravity suffer from bone loss and muscle atrophy, which can result in medical issues during their space trips and upon returning to Earth.
These workout machines allow that valiant spacemen and women to keep strong while conducting important space science and talking with alien ambassadors. You can't have the human race appear weak. So work out, be in shape, and be in space!
Chemical Detection Sensors
NASA deals with a whole lot of chemicals, and those chemicals have specific places they should be and shouldn't be. In order to make sure they knew if those chemicals had gotten to the wrong places, NASA worked with Intelligent Optical Systems to develop moisture and pH-sensitive sensors that can warn of corrosive conditions in aircraft before any damage can occur.
After completing work with NASA, the U.S. Department of Defense asked IOS to continue development to detect potential toxic threats. This tech is now present in factories, aerospace companies, automotive industries, and many other places.
Cloud Computing Platforms
Storing and accessing large amounts of data over the internet – in the "cloud" – is one of the more useful things that the web has given us, and that's kind of saying a lot. NASA is to thank for this breakthrough.
One of the early breakthroughs when it came to cloud-based computing, which was called Open Stack, got its start there. Software companies and places like Google and Apple immediately picked up on this incredibly powerful idea, and nowadays it's ubiquitous. You probably save your work projects on the cloud in some fashion.
Nike Air Sneakers
While these classy kicks weren't developed for astronauts to perform huge dunks on the moon's surface, they still use some space-age tech. It was initially for the space suits that astronauts wear. Then, a former NASA engineer named M. Frank Rudy patented a style of rubber development that he called "blow rubber molding."
Nike would eventually start using this molding process to create the cushioning that allows ballers to "run on air," as the ads tell us. It's pretty likely that several other industries also use this tech to make proper rubber for whatever type of project they have.
This one is a bit of a cheat – while NASA never had the need for water guns in space, the Super Soaker brand was developed by a former NASA engineer. Of course, there are plenty of reasons why NASA would want fluid tech, but nothing so antagonistic.
These pumpable water guns became the highlight of hot summer days, and we have Lonnie Johnson to thank – he worked on the Galileo mission to Jupiter before forming his own company. Alien races beware – our water gun technology is lightyears ahead of whatever you've come up with.
Having a GPS right in our pocket is a Godsend for the directionally challenged among us. No longer do we have to wonder if we've missed our turn – we can be sure we missed our turn thanks to our global positioning system. Even if you don't have a wireless connection, it still comes in handy.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed this system using data it streamed from its vast network of GPS receivers. It's used in almost every cell phone, some cars use it, and more. Never get lost again – or, instead, make sure you don't stay lost. Thanks, NASA.
Tap Water Filters
Beginning a hot day, finishing a workout, or making a pot of soup all have one commonality: a cup of hydrating water accompanies them. Having that water full of bacteria, particulates, or other nasty things won't do any good. It won't be healthy, either.
Such a simple item comes to us from NASA's desire for its astronauts to have water that will keep them hydrated without introducing anything untoward into their bodies. This is incredibly important since there aren't any taps in space – the water that astronauts drink has to be recycled from the water they divulge from their bodies.
A lot of us take our computer mice for granted. It seems so simple, so obvious. There are files, buttons, and other things on the computer screen to click and navigate around using something attached to the computer.
It looks like a mouse with a tail (the cord), so that's its name. But before that, computers only had keyboards. No mice. A NASA researcher named Doug Englebart wanted something easier to use. Several things were attempted, but the early mouse design won out. It made it easier to manipulate data, and now a computer without a mouse seems very wrong.
Winglets for Aircraft
A winglet is that little bit at the end of Aircraft wings that rises vertically to the rest of the wing during take-off. What could be the point of such an addition to a wing? Believe it or not, it's to reduce the drag of the plane while moving through the air. Somehow. NASA came up with the winglet thanks to the Aircraft Energy Efficiency program, which began in the mid-seventies.
Nowadays, you're going to see these wings on all kinds of aircraft such as commercial jets and airliners. They increase fuel efficiency, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and get you to your destination faster.
Flares that Destroy Landmines
The company Thiokol entered into an agreement with NASA to use excess rocket fuel for something quite particular. They worked with the Marshall Space Flight Center to produce a flare that would burn so hot it can destroy landmines. One of the fuel leftovers after a launch is a hard solid that can't be used to launch anymore, but it can be used as an ingredient for the Deming Device flare.
It uses a battery-triggered electric match that neutralizes landmines without detonation – the flare uses the solid rocket fuel leftovers to burn a hole straight through the casing of the landmine and melt the explosive contents so that they can be fully disarmed without risk.
If something is going on in your body – and exploratory surgery is off the table – then a CAT scan might be just the thing the doctor orders. It's also known as a CT scan, which stands for computerized tomography, and it can find muscle and bone disorders like tumors or fractures, as well as things like infections and blood clots.
We have NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to thank – the tech was initially developed to create advanced digital images for space programs. After that, it was discovered to be a versatile tool for the human body. Keep it up NASA!
Hitting the slopes and skiing is extremely fun. However, if you want a good time, you must have a pair of skiing boots that fit your feet and can adjust at top speeds. You can thank NASA for something that has nothing to do with space.
This precision skiing tech comes from the Flexon concept that NASA uses to give spacesuits flex without significant distortion. You see, if you're conducting a spacewalk, you want to make sure nothing is going to go wrong with your suit. The boots are an adaptation of the development, but it seems to work.
If you're the kind of person that starts shivering once the thermometer hits fifty, or you've seen marathoners wrap themselves in blankets (their body heat plummets after the race is over), you've witnessed NASA tech in action.
These blankets are called space blankets, not just because they seem part of a fifties science-fiction flick. NASA came up with lightweight foil blankets using insulators in order to keep spacecraft, astronauts, and sensitive equipment safe from temperature drops. You might also be benefiting from this tech if you're the kind of person that likes to take on mountains during really bad weather.
Video Enhancing and Analysis Systems
If you've ever watched a procedural cop show that had detectives or crime-scene analysts take a video and enhance it, this is where that tech comes from. Sort of. NASA and Intergraph Government Solutions worked together to create Video Image Stabilization and Registration technology, also known as VISAR. This tech is used by the FBI to analyze video footage, but that's not all.
It can be used to enhance video images from night footage made with hand-held camcorders, frame-by-frame analysis, format conversion, and increased visibility without altering underlying footage. The military uses it for weapons deployment, training, reconnaissance, and a number of other things.
Remote Control Ovens
While ovens that you can control from a different device seem like something that comes from “The Jetsons,” it's finally becoming a reality. Embedded Web Technology, also known as EWT, is software that NASA developed to let astronauts monitor or control devices over the internet. Soon after, the tech reached the market and was picked up by TMIO LLC, which got to work developing ways to use the tech in the home.
Combined with heating and cooling, they made an intelligent oven called “Connect Io,” which has programmable cooking settings, timers, and even refrigeration for before cooking begins.
Bright light is one thing, and harmful UV rays are another, but blue light in particular has been found to have some harmful effects when it's especially bright. People who spend time out on the slopes will tell you that it can make your eyes especially tired. Well, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory happened upon a certain kind of lens that scatters that blue light, blocking up to ninety-five percent of it.
This is super useful for skiers, but it has also come in handy for people who sit at their desks looking at screens all day – those screens put out a lot of blue, and it can lead to eye tiredness for many.
You might not be immediately familiar with this little bit of fancy work, but there's a high chance it's helped you out in the past. For example, if you hit the highway to get to work, you've taken advantage of the grooved concrete that NASA's Langley Research Center created.
They found that the grooves increased traction and control – and thus reduced slips and accidents – on wet runways. Such a thing would be even more helpful to the commoner by adding it to specific places on the highway or interstate, creating safety grooving that keeps cars headed in the right direction.
NASA develops many important technologies across all channels of innovation. One of these is lenses that are as durable as possible. They didn't waste time going up to zero-G only to find they couldn't even conduct experiments.
One of NASA's research centers was working on diamond-hard coatings for aerospace systems and realized that it had accidentally come up with a coating that makes lenses scratch-resistant. This was great for NASA, but it was also great for the millions of people around the world who wear glasses and for those who work with lenses or goggles daily.
There's a non-zero chance you're using this technology at this very moment to listen to, we assume, Beethoven. NASA would, of course, have a vested interest in coming up with something that allows their astronauts to communicate with Earth and with each other, but without the hassle of wires getting in the way.
Thanks to things like Bluetooth and other wireless developments, they could develop something that worked. Now, non-astronauts can rock out, take calls, or listen to their favorite podcast without worrying about getting tangled up. They're not perfect, but they're a nice upgrade from those old walkman headsets.
Video imaging software is incredibly useful in all sorts of areas, from medicine to digging tunnels to looking into space. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory was obviously most interested in the last of that list.
NASA's imaging software combined with ultrasound equipment gave us something called ArterioVision. Medical professionals are able to use it to investigate circulatory systems for signs of atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of fatty material inside arteries that frequently lead to dangerous medical events such as heart attacks and strokes. It's also available for use during surgeries and noninvasive examinations that keep people free of cardiovascular illness.
Ice and planes don't seem like two things that will mix very well, and there were plenty of times when the mixture resulted in something unfortunate. Since space shuttles are made to head into the cold dark of space, you can bet ice was on the minds of the men and women at NASA.
They put those minds together to create something called Thermawing, a thermoelectric de-icing system. It was quickly spread through NASA's Technology Transfer Program to all the plane manufacturing companies. It allows the planes to safely fly through encounters with ice with a much higher success rate.
Now, what do you think this technology can accomplish? It might surprise you that charge-coupled devices can digitize light into data. To make it even clearer, they can easily convert light – images – into digital data (pictures on a computer, for instance) with less loss of quality and more detail.
It's the perfect kind of thing to go into deep-space telescopes. The LORAD Corporation realized it could be incredibly useful for looking for life-threatening breast cancer tumors. It's allowed them to make the tests less invasive, less expensive, and more accurate when looking at tissue samples.
Corneal Refractive Therapy
Contact lenses – "don't leave them in overnight." But, of course, the times are changing, and now there are lenses you not only keep on while you sleep but it's also encouraged.
Microgravity research allowed scientists to create a new kind of lens that reshapes the cornea while you sleep, giving you more precise, sharper vision during difficult space days, even if you aren't wearing the futuristic lenses. They're even exceptionally oxygen permeable, which keeps your eyes from itching. In addition, they're less susceptible to bacteria and resistant to deposits. That might mean that they collect fewer bits under the lenses.
Memory Foam Mattresses
If you love sinking into your memory foam mattress, you have NASA to thank. Memory foam, which was originally called temper foam, was made to provide additional padding for airline passengers during potential crashes.
The NASA Technology Transfer Program was able to spread it around to any industry that needed it after first using it in space flights. Nowadays, you'll not only find it giving you a good night's sleep, but it's also in pillows, saddles for riding horses, and cushioning in amusement park rides. It's still used as crash padding, and even NASCAR uses it to keep drivers safe.
Okay, we can probably figure this one out. Space has no atmosphere, so to block UV, NASA needed to develop an effective shade for astronaut helmets that block it, right? Well, not really.
It was a pair of Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists who were getting up to some welding and finding their eyes hurting thanks to the intense light of a welding torch. So they came up with a welding curtain that could scatter that low light and later realized such a development could go into casual use to let beachgoers enjoy the warmth without risking their eyes.
If all that is between you and the endless, scary, and ever-reaching void of space is a single suit, you want that suit to have the very best. The polymers created for space suits have also been found to have flame-retardant and heat-resistant properties, leading to them being adopted by firefighters worldwide.
Newer firefighting suits also feature additional space-age tech: circulating coolant that allows firefighters to cool off while wearing lots of heavy clothes near flames and advanced breathing systems to ensure they get air. They're modeled after space life support systems with several adjustments for the change in setting.
Precision Coffee Maker
Astronauts need their morning cup of mud just like the rest of us, but this advancement is a little farther from space than the other items on this list. One engineer spent some time as an intern at NASA and then went on to join a coffee maker startup.
The knowledge he gained allowed him to make the coffee machines brew at precision pressure and temperature, using proportional-integral-derivative controllers, which continually monitor and correct the device. These same controllers are used in things like space rovers, but brewing a nice pot of joe is also a good use.
Light-emitting diodes, commonly known as LEDs, are small lights that require far less power and produce far less heat than most other versions of artificial light. Believe it or not, LEDs were first developed for use in growing plants onboard the space shuttle and International Space Station, but it's been found that they have a few more advantages.
For example, scientists developed LED medical devices that relax muscles and help reduce pain in soldiers, cancer patients, and people with Parkinson's disease. How exactly the little lights accomplish those things is quite an intense study. Great work, though. Keep it up!
Fitness Heart Rate Monitors
Lots of people have Fitbits or other things on their wrists to track their heart rate, their daily steps, and maybe even things like blood pressure. All that fancy data comes to us courtesy of technology NASA developed to keep track of astronauts while they're out on spacewalks and the like.
Now, this kind of technology has been adopted by athletes, people who want to stay on top of their health, medical professionals, hospitals, and plenty more. So, if you like checking your steps and enjoy the obsession of tech fitness, you have space tech to thank for that.
While we're not just talking about fancy gold chains, we are sort of talking about that. Gold plating reflects a lot of light, which helps detect celestial objects. It also doesn't oxidize, which means it will never tarnish, unlike many other metals. Thus, gold is often used on space mirrors. NASA partnered with Epner Technology to develop proper tech for gold plating on most of anything.
This attracted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which occasionally needs to replace the gold plating on Oscar statues. Epner and the Academy have partnered to give free replacement plating to faded Oscar awards since the gold plating lasts for literal decades without fading!
If you went to space, you'd want to snap a few pics for your friends back home, and that's exactly what the astronauts thought, too. Of course, their friends back home were their bosses at NASA, but the point still stands.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed a camera that could fit inside a space-minimal spacecraft without sacrificing too much quality. The advancements they made are now being used in about a third of all cameras. There's an off-hand chance that the phone you have in your hand right now has some of that tech inside it at this very moment.
Most great tires on the road these days are radial tires – a layer of tread and then a layer of plies, which are internal layers using various rubber compounds. NASA was looking for a way to make the tires lighter and stronger, and they asked Goodyear for help.
They wanted to land rovers on the surface of Mars and make sure the tires were up to snuff. Goodyear was later able to roll out the same advancements for car tires you see a thousand times a day. In addition, the tires last much longer than the original underdeveloped run-down versions.
Fogless Coating for Goggles and Windows
When it's cold outside the car and warm inside, you probably know exactly what happens. The windows and windshield fog up. But, they could fog up even worse. The same fogging happened in spacecraft (and the temperature difference is far worse in outer space), so NASA got to work figuring out how to reduce it.
They ended up developing a fogless coating that was later licensed to more than sixty companies. It uses liquid detergent, deionized water, and fire-resistant oil. For a good reason, we assume. Now that coating is used on ski goggles, car windows, and more. Sure, they need help sometimes, but they're still a big boon.
Cordless development was an eventual must. Using power tools in space pushed the tech forward. Of course, there would be nothing worse than getting all your gear onto the moon only to discover that there are no outlets.
NASA thought of this problem ahead of time and got to work developing batteries that wouldn't lose their charge as quickly. In addition, they could double up by coming up with magnet-motor drills that make the most of every little bit of stored energy. This noticeable upgrade to plug-in tools quickly hit the earthly market, and handypersons everywhere were thrilled with the upgrade.
Fabric for Athletic Wear
If you're the kind of person that loves to get outside and get your hustle on, you've probably got a couple of examples of this space-age tech in your wardrobe. While it seems like astronauts would need something to protect them from the cold, there are plenty of situations when they need something to help them cool off, too.
They came up with materials that keep the body cool when it needs to be. It's handy for us but incredibly important for people who are in direct sunlight without the mitigating effects of the atmosphere to disperse the sun's scorching heat.
Safe Packaged Food
When it comes to survival on the planet, there are few things that are more important than making sure there's enough safe food to eat. NASA and Pillsbury teamed up to create a new approach to making sure prepackaged food was safe to consume.
It was originally intended, as you might be able to guess, for food that would head up into space with the astronauts, but the updated quality control standards have become de rigueur in the food industry as a whole to keep food safe for consumers around the globe – not just away from it.
Shock Absorbers for Buildings
Excuse me? Why do buildings need shock absorbers? Are those buildings going off-roading when you aren't looking? No, of course not. That would be very silly. Shock absorbers found in buildings and other structures can still be incredibly vital and essential in places with earthquakes or even storms.
NASA uses this tech to protect support buildings at the launch sites, which, it should be noted, will be next to giant rockets firing so hard there might as well be earthquakes. Not only does this make it so those buildings aren't knocked down, but they also keep the sensitive equipment safe.