We Use Every Day!
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has pioneered many inventions and technologies to fix specific problems faced during space exploration. Some of them have commercial applications right here on Earth. What’s Up, Germany? checks out spin-offs that have filtered down into our daily lives. You’re probably using some of them right now!
It started out as an effort to keep pilots safe during flights, but ended up on our beds! We’re talking about memory foam, which has the ability to mould itself, absorb pressure and then return to its original shape. It is used in quite a few products today, from shoes, couches to sport helmets.
Included in many first aid kits, these lightweight silver blankets treat shock and hypothermia. Originally though, they were developed to protect spacecraft and astronauts from extreme temperatures.
A lot of research was done on space food before the Apollo mission. Along with Nestlé, NASA came up with the freeze-drying technique, through which food retains 98 percent of its nutrition and weighs only 20 percent of its original weight. This technique is now applied across the food industry.
Enriched Baby Food
Most baby formulas available today contain a nutritional enrichment ingredient that can be traced back to research into the use of algae for long-duration space travel!
Tiny red light LED chips are being utilised to grows plants in space. On Earth, they have made their way into medical devices that help treat chronic pain.
Providing astronauts safe drinking water has always been a major challenge. In collaboration with a private company, back in the Seventies NASA developed special cartridge filters that used iodine to remove impurities from water. This technology is used in developing countries around the world.
Better Radial Tyres
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company developed a fibrous material for NASA’s parachute shrouds that was five times stronger than steel! Goodyear realised it was onto something and created a new radial tyre with this material that lasted way longer than conventional tyres.
NASA developed a scratch-resistant coating for astronauts’ helmets and other space equipment. Eyewear manufacturer Foster Grant licensed this technology to produce scratch-resistant lenses.