As you might have noticed by now, I am a big fan of NASA and the prospects of human space flight. As a tech nerd I am always fascinated by the ever-evolving technology that has changed the way we live. Many may not realize how much stuff we use in everyday life has its origins in the space program. The most obvious is the satellites that we all use for communications, GPS, etc. But there are many technologies that you might not think had been created for use by NASA.
Infrared ear thermometers owe their creation to the technology used developed for infrared astronomy. The same way the thermometers measure the energy that is emitted by the eardrum is the same way astronomers use it to measure the temperature of starts and planets. It’s one of those small things that we take for granted every day, especially as the use of these thermometers has increased due to the pandemic.
If you are like me, you have replaced almost all the lights in your house with the newer, power-efficient, and brighter LED lights. But did you know that the technology was developed for use by NASA on the space shuttle. It was used to help in experiments on plant growth in space and used to help regulate the sleep cycles of astronauts. Now they are using the technology to relax muscles and relieve pain in patients with cancer, Parkinson’s and even soldiers.
Have you ever used a memory foam mattress? If so, you are using material that was developed by NASA for use in the seat’s astronauts sit in during takeoff and landing. The seats had to be comfortable and adjust to the bodies of those sitting in them while also able to absorb the high gravitational forces that they experience as they ascend to space and return home.
Over the last year or so I have spent a considerable amount of time working out in the gym. Once of the things I routinely use are resistance-based workout machines. I bet you did not know that those machines were developed for use in space. Due to the zero-gravity environment, traditional weight-lifting machines don’t work while astronauts in space.
Going camping anytime soon? If you might have picked up an insulated thermal blanket. Maybe you have worn a piece of fireproof clothing or installed fireproof insulation in your house or building. All three of those things have their origin in the heatshield technology that NASA developed for spacecrafts and the spacesuits that astronauts wear.
Other technology that has its origin in NASA includes artificial limbs, insulin pumps, dust busters, laser eye surgery, structural shock absorbers, solar panels, water filtration, air purifiers, and more. Even many of the advancements in airplane technology is pioneered by NASA.