Although we all love to follow NASAs discoveries every now ad then, few of us realize just how many things we use today are a direct result of NASA research. When The Space Act of 1958 was formed, it stated that space research must also benefit the general public as much as possible.
This has inspired numerous industries and novel research, which have developed tools, theories, and discoveries which are crucial for many things that we enjoy today. The following are only some of the many things that NASA has developed to bring you a better quality of life.
1. Systems for Video Enhancement
This is one of the most popular and crucial discoveries which you have probably seen mentioned in security issues, crime series, and in some cases in sports as well. I is called Video Image Stabilization and Registration (VISAR). This is one of the biggest gifts that NASA has given the FBI and other security teams.
This technology helps authorities analyze video footage. Instead of the video footage looking busy and covered with people and objects, VISAR offers frame-by-frame analysis which enhance the quality of the image and allow authorities to find what they are looking for. It has helped to solve many security issues.
2. Better Equipment for Fire Fighters
Fire fighters complete heroic deeds on a daily basis. In order to complete their job to the best of their ability while also keeping them safe, NASA has done many things to help make their job easier to complete with the best tools and technology possible. For example, one of the most incredible things that NASA research has helped to develop for firefighters are a harness, an air bottle, and a breathing system that is lightweight and safe to use.
This new breathing system in particular is now used by firefighters across the world and has helped to not only put out fires, but also to save the lives of the fire fighters themselves.
3. Competition Swimsuits
If you've ever watched a swimming competition, you have probably noticed that the competitors are all wearing a very specific type of swimsuit. You won't see them competing in boxer shorts or in bikinis, and for a very good reason that has nothing to do with fashion. What they are wearing to compete is an LZR Racer Suit.
This is a kind of super high tech swimsuit which increases a swimmer's ability to reach their absolute highest potential when they go out to compete. The reason why it is available for racers to use is because it is part of research conducted by NASA on Ansys fluid flow analysis.
4. Detection of Chemicals
Chemical detection has saved many lives and is one of the most dangerous jobs that a person can do. Chemical spills happen way too often, and sadly, we are not always aware of them happening until it's too late. NASA has helped humanity with this problem through the Intelligent Optical Systems which NASA uses frequently.
These systems have pH-sensitive sensors which are able to quickly detect corrosion as soon as it happens. I notifies the user by changing colors when it comes into contact with a chemical that should not be there, and is thus a quick and efficient way to warn us about a potential disaster happening.
5. Diodes which Emit Light
Light is crucial for our development in every possible aspect of our lives, and the same is true for NASA and the research and technology that is being done in space. However, one of the problems that we have had with generating light over the years is that it takes up a lot of energy in order to keep the lights going.
Because NASA needed special units to be placed on its space shuttles, they developed high-intensity LED (Light-Emitting Diodes) lights. The reason why they are crucial for technology is because they use far less energy in order to emit light, and they are an important step towards power-efficiency.
6. Improved Tire Technology
It doesn't take long to realize why NASA would need strong and durable tires to complete its many complex and dangerous missions. In fact, years of research were needed to produce the high quality of tires that NASA uses today.
Both Goodyear and the Rubber company joined forces with NASA to improve the strength, quality and durability of tires. In fact, they have now developed tires which are five times more durable than steel! This research has not only helped NASA and the two companies, it has also ensured that our cars are running on the best tires possible.
7. The Reversal of Pollution
It almost feels as if there is more and more news about pollution on a daily basis. The human lack of planning regarding pollution has caused nature to be covered in our trash, without any seeming way of fixing the problem in the long run. However, NASA has once again kept this problem in mind while advancing its overall research.
Although there is still no answer to all of our pollution problems, at least NASA has worked to help us with the pollution of petroleum-based products. The Petroleum Remediation Product uses tiny capsules with beeswax to collect crude oil compounds, specifically those that are found in the ocean.
8. The Advancement of Structural Analysis
Structural analysis is important in the development of all structures that surround us on a daily basis. It is of course even more important for scientists and researchers at NASA who need to ensure that their structures are able to complete their tasks while also protecting human lives and equipment that might be in them.
As a result, the NASA Structural Analysis Program is one of the most widely-used programs for structural analysis around the world. Anything that needs to maintain a safe and stable structure has at some point used this program to check for potential safety issues.
9. Lubricants in Powder Form
Lubricants are important for the production of appliances, especially those that need to control the distribution of heat in some way. NASA especially needs to heal with heat at almost every aspect of its research, especially projects which are directly related to space.
This is why NASA developed something called PS300, which is a lubricant that is produced in powder form. Because it is a powder, it makes it much easier to cover surfaces with it, helping the reduction of friction and the reduction of potential overheating. It is now often used in industries around the world.
10. Freeze Drying Products
Freeze-dried food is a useful feature for us, especially when it comes to helping us prepare quick meals or preserving food for a long time. However, this discovery was crucial for NASA's research and how it managed food in space. The Apollo missions were in fact the driving force for the production of freeze-dried products.
NASA teamed up with Nestle to invent the method. When food is dehydrated, it is much easier to transport it (even in space!) and it also greatly increases the freshness of the food by months.
11. Better Baby Food
Baby food and its quality has always been important, especially for parents who want nothing more than to ensure that their babies are eating the best food possible. Not surprisingly, NASA has also benefited the production of better baby food as well.
Specifically, it has to do with the nutritional value of baby food. Some time ago, a microalgae was discovered by NASA, which was then used as a recycling agent for trips to space. However, it was then discovered that he microalgae could be further developed into a nutritional element for baby food.
12. Filters for Water
Water is becoming a problem across the world. We are beginning to struggle when it comes to clean water, and we are also seeing very serious pollution affect our oceans. The situation would be even worse has it not been for some very important NASA research.
When astronauts are in space, they obviously need clean water in order to survive and to stay healthy. In order to help with the process, NASA researchers were the ones who came up with the activated charcoal method of filtering water - the same method that you see in your water filters all the time.
13. Tools that Don't Need Cords
Cords have been a constant in our lives, from pretty much every appliance that we have in the houses. Even remote controllers used to have cords connected to the TV! Today, however, there are many tools and appliance that are no longer dragged down by cords, and we have NASA to thank for that.
The new research stemmed from NASA's need for astronauts to collect rock and soil samples from their landing on the Moon. In order to do this efficiently, they needed to create a powerful drill that could help the astronauts, while at the same time not needing a power cord.
14. Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors have saved many lives across the world. They are cheap to buy, can be placed anywhere in the house or office space, and are safe for both children and pets. They are designed to notify you of smoke in the house so that you have enough time to call for help.
This is another thing that we have NASA to thank for. The first smoke detector was invented to help scientists who were working in the Skylab notice if there was a fire anywhere. Because it worked so well and saved the astronauts from a few dangerous situations, it is now available for people around the world.
15. Insoles for Shoes
We rarely pay enough attention to our feet, even though we really should. Our feet go through a lot of work on a daily basis for us, and we need to ensure that the shoes we wear are helping the feet do their job and not make them sore or painful. The first person to enjoy the comfort of shoe insoles, were the men who landed on the Moon.
In order to help the astronauts, NASA developed a special foam fabric which was placed in the astronaut's boots. Not only did it make it easier for the astronauts to walk, it also provided much-needed ventilation for their feet.
16. Ear Thermometers
We have numerous ways to measure our own body temperature. It helps us to see how healthy we are and how much a possible virus could be causing havoc inside our bodies. The ear thermometer is peculiar in this sense because it uses infrared technology to measure our temperature.
The development of the ear thermometer no only made it easier to measure body temperature, it is also much safer. Traditional thermometers use mercury, which is of course very dangerous for us. NASA has helped not only adults stay away from mercury, but also children.
17. Memory Foam
A good night of sleep is what most of us lack during the week and try to make up for over the weekend. The kind of bed we have in many ways determines the kind of sleep that we will have as well. Memory foam has been a great addition to the kind of mattress we sleep on, and has made us all get a lot more rest.
NASA first developed the memory foam to help astronauts deal with the impact of landing while on their seats. It was important to ease the impact on the bodies of the astronauts, and it has done wonders so far.
18. Lenses that Are Resistant to Scratches
For those of us who wear glasses, scratches have often been a problem. If the glass is sensitive, the lenses get scratches very quickly, making it difficult for us to look through them. In fact, it is not good for your eyes to look for a damaged lense, which is why we then need to get new ones.
NASA helped us here when they needed a special coat for delicate equipment. Their goal was to protect the equipment from the often harsh space environment. It worked so well, that this technology is now widely used to prevent precious glasses from getting scratched.
19. Invisible Braces
We all want to have the best smile possible. Not all of us are born with perfect teeth, and often, we cannot all afford braces to fix our smile. However, invisible braces are not only a very convenient way to wear braces, they are also very useful for adults. It is often the case that adults wear braces because they can afford to do so later on in life.
This is also the result of the NASA Advanced Ceramics Research center, which discovered the use of translucent polycrystalline alumina as a new material for braces. Thanks NASA!
20. The Heart Pump
Heart transplants are crucial procedures which have kept many people alive over the years. However, while waiting for a heart transplant, the patient needs to be kept alive and stable, especially if they are in a difficult medical condition.
NASA collaborated with MicroMed Technology to create this extraordinary machine which is essentially a heart pump for patients who are waiting for a heart transplant. It is called the Ventricular Assist Device, and is continuously pumps blood into the patient's heart until a donor is available.
21. Prosthetic Limbs
Prosthetics have come a long way since the first time that humans needed them as assistance. For people who have lost a limb or were born without it, it is crucial to help develop prosthetics of the highest quality, so that they may live a beneficial and healthy life.
NASA helped greatly in these advancements because of its research in artificial muscle systems. The researchers use these systems for various robot designs, however, they also discovered that people can benefit greatly from them as well.
22. Solar Energy
We are always reminded that we should be doing more to converse energy so that we don't overwhelm our planet with our energetic needs. And although many people are doing their best to find new energy sources, there is still a lot more that needs to be done so that we may truly help the planet.
Solar energy is one of the most popular ways to generate energy, and once again we have NASA to thank for this. NASA researchers developed Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology in order to allow their aircraft to fly unmanned through space.
23. Long-Distance Telecommunication
As our world becomes smaller and smaller in terms of our ability to travel across it, we are also easily able to communicate with people across the world as well. We use our computers and mobile phone to talk to loved ones and to complete business ventures.
NASA has about 200 satellites across the orbit of the Earth at all times, and it is these satellites which allow us to use the power of long-distance telecommunication. And as these satellites become more advanced, we will also see more advancements in our telecommunication technology.
24. Cameras on Our Phones
Cameras on our phones have developed so much that none of us carry or buy actual cameras anymore. There is simply no need for it, especially if we are not professional photographers. Each new generation of phones creates smaller cameras that have better image capture abilities.
This discovery stems from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory which needed to develop cameras which would be small enough to fit into a spacecraft, and yet at the same time be able to capture beautiful images of space and various planetary surfaces.
25. CAT Scans
CAT scans and radiography are continuously helping patients around the world to discover illnesses and cancer so that they can be treated as soon as possible. Without this technology, doctors would have a very poor understanding of what are going on inside of a patient's body at the time of their doctor's visit.
The CAT scan has become available because NASA needed a way to get an excellent digital image from their many research programs in space. And because NASA shares as much of its technology as it possibly can with the rest of the world, patients are able to make the most of this technology to benefit their health.
26. The Removal of Land Mines
Sadly, because there have been so many horrible wars in our world, there are also many land mines which have remained in the ground. Large areas in the world are completely shut off for the general public in order to avoid any of the land mines exploding.
Thanks to NASA's Thiokol Propulsion system, we are now able to destroy mines by blasting a flare through them, without the mine itself noticing that something is happening. It is a long and dangerous process, but it is worth it to save people's lives.
27. Foil Blankets
You may not have a foil blanket at home, however, you have probably seen foil blankets being used by rescue teams to keep a patient warm until they reach the hospital. You have probably also seen it being used by mountain climbers who have to deal with extremely low temperatures.
NASA developed this lightweight insulator to help protect both people and aircraft in space. This is very beneficial and easy to make technology which has truly made a difference for people who find themselves in cold climates or who need to be rescued.
28. The Dustbuster
We all know how useful dustbusters are when it comes to collecting dust and bits of food that have dropped on various surfaces in our home. It keeps the house clean while also taking up very little space. Once again, we have NASA to thank for this invention.
NASA teamed up with Black & Decker to develop an appliance which could collect samples from the Moon back when such samples were needed. The technology was then further developed by Black & Decker into the dustbuster that we all use today.
29. Home Insulation
A good home insulation system is necessary in order to keep your house stable in weather conditions throughout the year. Regardless of whether the season is hot or cold, good insulation will help your body to slowly adapt to the new temperature, and also to live in an environment that you can actually survive.
NASA developed the insulation system called the Radiant Barrier to help astronauts and also space vehicles to handle the extreme temperatures in space. This same system is now used in many homes across the world.
30. The Jaws of Life
Sadly, there are often accidents where people are trapped in their vehicles and need to be helped out. These are dangerous situations where, usually fire fighters, need to respond as quickly as possible in order to save a person's life.
This is also one of the most important technologies which NASA has given us. These Jaws of Life generate a miniature explosive charge which helps to destroy a material so that it can help the trapped person get out.