Used for everything from communications and spying to research and development, with around 200 NASA satellites orbiting the Earth everyday, this technology has made it possible for us to stay in touch with people on the other side of the globe instantaneously.
NASA formed a 28-member union called the Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology. Its goal was to build a remotely piloted aircraft, made to fly unmanned at high altitudes. The technology was to be flown using solar power so as to not add weight to the aircraft. Because of this invention, millions of homes are now equipped with crystal silicon solar power trimming down traditional energy expenses and reducing pollution.
Artificial limbs came into existence as a result of the advancement of artificial muscle systems for use in NASA space robotic and extravehicular activities.
Ventricular Assist Device
NASA, in collaboration with Dr. Michael DeBakey, Dr. George Noon, and MicroMed Technology, invented a heart pump for patients waiting for a heart transplant. A heart donor is very difficult to come by so while the patient is on queue, the Ventricular Assist Device pumps blood until a heart donor is available.
Kids with braces have to endure taunts about being a geek and nerd. That is why this NASA Discovery come in so handy to those who don’t want to go through the ordeal of having a mouth full of visible metal. Invisible Braces translucent polycrystalline alumina was created by NASA Advanced Ceramics Research in collaboration with a company called Ceradyne to protect the infrared antenna of heat-seeking missile trackers.
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NASA needed a special coating to protect space equipment from dirt found in the space environment so they came up with their special plastics coating. Now, we’re enjoying sunglasses that are resistant to scratches. What’s better, plastic is cheaper than glass and is better at absorbing ultraviolet radiation.
The open cell polyurethane-silicon plastic was made for NASA aircraft seats to reduce impact during landing. Since it was repackaged for home use, the Memory Foam has been helping millions sleep better at night.
Infrared Ear Thermometers
NASA uses infrafred technology to measure the temperature of stars. With this technology, we now have the ear thermometer which captures our body temperature using infrared sensors that detect the amount of energy given off by the eardrum. We’ve been saved from the hassle of a standard mercury thermometer which is a little difficult to read.
When man landed on the moon, NASA invented a three-dimensional polyurethane foam fabric in boots to set a spring in the astronauts’ stride while giving ventilation. Now, we have shoes that reduce the impact on our legs and feet when we go walking/running.
NASA invented the first adjustable smoke detector to let astronauts know if there was fire or if noxious gases were loose in Skylab, the first US space station. Now, we’re enjoying safety from fire in our homes thanks to this technology.
When man was about to land on the Moon, NASA needed equipment astronauts could use to get rock and soil samples. The tool needed to be lightweight and powerful enough to drill into the moon’s surface. NASA, together with Black and Decker, figured out that attaching a cord to a drill would be difficult for the astronauts so they invented a battery-operated motor drill. Now, cordless tools abound because of this invention.
Astronauts needed something to keep the water they bring to space clean. NASA invented a filter with activated charcoal that contains ions to neutralize pathogens in water and now we have the water filter.
Enriched Baby Food
NASA discovered an microalgae that they used as a recycling agent for extended travel to space. The substance, formulated into the products life’s DHA and life’s ARA and based on the microalgae, is now used as a nutritional ingredient found in commercial infant formulas.
NASA did major research on space food in preparation for the Apollo missions, and together with Nestle, came up with Freeze Drying – a process that involves dehydration of food to make it more convenient for transport. Food is frozen and the surrounding pressure is reduced to allow the frozen water in food to sublimate directly from the solid phase to the gas phase.
PS300, a solid lubricant coating was developed by NASA. It is deposited by thermal spraying which protects foil air bearings. PS300,with its ability to reduce friction and emissions, has been widely used in industrial applications such as refrigeration compressors, turbochargers, and hybrid electrical turbogenerators.
NASA Visualization Explorer
NASA Visualization Explorer is an app available on iPad. It was developed by NASA to deliver real-time satellite data, including movies stills, educating its users about things like climate change and Earth’s active systems.
Remote Controlled Ovens
NASA developed Embedded Web Technology (EWT) software for astronauts operating experiments on the International Space Station. It allows them to control a device remotely over the internet. NASA then furnished this technology to TMIO which built a remote control oven product called the Connect IO.
Structural Analysis Software
Software Engineers at NASA have designed thousands of computer programs since its inception. The NASA Structural Analysis Program is one of the most widely-used programs, utilized to design Cadillacs, roller coasters, and much more.
Petroleum Remediation Product is a microencapsulating technology developed by NASA. The microcapsules, tiny balls of beeswax with hollow centers, safely clean petroleum-based pollutants from water. Chemical compounds from crude oil are prevented from settling, reducing damage to ocean beds.
Improved Radial Tires
NASA, along with Goodyear and Rubber company, developed a fibrous material – five times more durable than steel. It was used in parachute shrouds to soft-land the Viking Lander spacecraft on Mars. Goodyear then used the discovery and produced a new radial tire with 10,000 mile tread life expectancy.
High-intensity LED (Light-emitting Diodes) units were developed for the NASA space shuttles. LED works when an electric current is applied in the forward direction of a device and a light is emitted by a semiconductor diode. LEDs are making great advances in power-efficiency and will soon play a vital role in general lighting.
Intelligent Optical Systems was employed by NASA to build moisture and pH-sensitive sensors to detect corrosive conditions in aircraft to prevent damages. When the sensor comes in contact with chemical reactions in the aircraft, it changes colors. The US Department of Defense is now using these sensors to detect chemical warfare agents and possible threats.
LZR Racer Suit
The LZR Racer Suit is a high tech swimsuit made of fabric composed of woven elastane-nylon and polyurethane. The design was supported by the wind tunnel testing facilities and Ansys fluid flow analysis software of NASA.
NASA and the National Bureau of Fire Standards built a lightweight breathing system of mask, frame, harness and air bottle using an aluminum composite material developed by NASA for use on rocket casings. The breathing apparatus is now widely used for protection from smoke inhalation injury. In addition to that, the inductorless electronic circuit technology developed by NASA is now used by firefighters as short-range two-way radios.
Video Enhancing and Analysis Systems
Video Image Stabilization and Registration (VISAR) technology was created by NASA to assist FBI agents investigating video footage. This tool offers frame-by-frame analysis, full-resolution video, conversion of analog video to digital formats and enhanced quality of filmed subjects without distorting underlying footage.