NASA And Its Countless Contributions

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The End of A Vision

NASA has invented many everyday items that we take for granted and that would never have come into existence. They have developed robots, velcro and so much more…

Here are a few:
1. Cordless tools – a 239,000 cord would be inconvenient so NASA teamed with Black & Decker to develop tools with rechargeable batteries and low-power consumption motors. Our dust buster thanks you.

2. Smoke detectors
In the 1970s, NASA teamed up with Honeywell Corp. to create a device that would detect smoke and toxic gases in Skylab.
And in 1979, they invented the inexpensive photoelectric detection devices, which go off when smoke blocks the light beam…how many lives this must have saved.

3. Enriched baby food
While testing the potential of algae as a food supply for long-duration space travel, a Maryland-based biosciences company discovered an algae additive that contains two fatty acids closely resembling those found in human breast milk. It uses it in an enriched infant formula called Formulaid, thought to be vital for babies’ visual and mental development.

4. New-age pavement
Today, old tires are being put to good use. NASA’s experience in fuel-related cryogenics helped develop processes to freeze the tires to below -200 degrees Fahrenheit so that they crumble, separating the rubber from other materials and producing what’s called “crumb.” This waste is recycled into several new products, including an ingredient used to pave highways, which means your new radial tires may someday be rolling over your old ones…

5. Those cool ear thermometers
The Diatek Corp. of California wanted a safer way to take a person’s temperature, and who better to turn to than NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the place with over 30 years of experience using infrared sensors to remotely observe celestial bodies?

6. Fast-acting dental braces
Do your old-fashioned braces set off airport metal detectors? Save yourself embarrassing strip searches by getting new ones. Many orthodontists now use ceramic braces that are bonded to the teeth and strung together with a thin, light wire made of NiTinol (nickel-titanium), an alloy brought to you compliments of NASA.

7. Protective paint
What do the Statue of Liberty, a gigantic Buddha in Hong Kong and the Golden Gate Bridge all have in common? They’re protected by the American space program … sort of.

In the late 1980s, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center began a research program to develop coatings for the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to shield the launch structures from salt-air corrosion, rocket exhaust and thermal stress. Applications of this material proved ideal for protecting structures like bridges, antenna towers and the occasional big Buddha.

8. (Better) cardiac pacemakers
Setter, Inc. teamed with NASA to develop a similar telemetry system, which not only allows doctors to make changes to the unit’s function over time, but also updates them on how the device is interacting with the patient — all without picking up a scalpel.

9. Scratch-resistant glasses
Thanks to NASA technology, plastic lenses for glasses last up to 10 times longer than they used to. That’s because its Ames Research Center created a scratch-resistant (read: extremely hard) coating to protect equipment from getting beaten up by space debris. Later, the Foster Grant Corp. acquired the license for the coating method and used it in their plastic sunglasses, which matched the hardness of glass lenses, but were much lighter. Among other uses, it’s now employed in most eyewear and industrial face shields.

10. Oh-so comfy sneaker insoles
Can’t run a five-minute mile? Don’t blame your sneakers. If they’re relatively new, they’re probably giving you quite a bit of help already. In the 1970s, many shoe manufacturers began replacing their standard foam rubber insoles with a new, highly shock-absorbent material — one giant step for tennis shoes.

The new kicks were padded with “viscoelastic” bubbles that conformed to your foot and then returned to their normal shape when you took the shoes off. Turns out, they got the idea (and the technology) from NASA, which had developed the material to better cushion astronauts during blastoff. Read here: Everyday inventions because of space travel

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