10 Amazing Inventions Resulting from Space Exploration

In this article we explore 10 amazing inventions resulting from space exploration such as memory foam mattresses & wireless headphones.

10 Amazing Inventions Resulting from Space Exploration

In the 1970s, NASA developed filtration systems that used iodine filters and cartridges to ensure that astronauts had access to safe and tasteless water. This filtering technology is now standard, and in partnership with Honeywell Corporation, NASA improved smoke detection technology in the 1970s, creating a unit with adjustable sensitivity to prevent constant false alarms. In the 1990s, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory invented a lightweight, miniature imaging system that required little energy to take high-quality photographs from space. This technology has become standard in cell phone and computer cameras, and the first portable computer, the Grid Compass, was used on multiple shuttle missions in the 1980s.

Nicknamed SPOC (Shuttle Portable On-Board Computer), the computer could communicate with on-board devices and was used to launch satellites from space shuttles. The ability to cook food on long space missions is no longer impossible with the invention of 3D food printers. This technology is now being refined for commercial use in the production of chocolates and other confectionery products, as well as to create nutritious foods for diabetics and others with specific dietary needs. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U. S.

government agency that runs the country's civil space program has achieved some truly amazing feats since its creation in 1958, from defeating the Soviet Union in the race to bring astronauts to the Moon to exploring the surface of Mars with unmanned robotic vehicles. So it probably doesn't surprise you to learn that NASA employs an impressive pool of scientific and engineering talent in a wide range of fields, from astronomy and physics to chemistry, biology and materials science. The list of inventions is certainly long, but if we were to highlight a few favorites, these 10 would top the list. In the early 1960s, an aeronautical engineer named Charles Yost worked on technology designed to ensure that the Apollo command module and its astronauts could recover safely after landing. That experience proved useful four years later, when Yost was hired to help NASA's Ames Research Center develop aircraft seats that could absorb accident energy and increase passengers' chances of survival. Yost created a special type of plastic foam that had the apparently miraculous ability to deform and absorb tremendous pressure, and then return to its original shape. In 1967, Yost formed his own company, Dynamic Systems Inc.

Since then, memory foam has been introduced in dozens of applications. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Dallas Cowboys professional football team used it to cover players' helmets to reduce trauma caused by impact on the field. Shoe manufacturers have used foam to create special high-comfort insoles. In hospitals, mattresses and wheelchair seats made of foam help patients with painful and dangerous body sores. One of the challenges of space exploration is that equipment must withstand radical conditions, from the heat of rocket exhaust gases to extreme cold in space.

Surprisingly, one of the most destructive forces is the corrosive effect of ocean dew and fog charged with saltwater. It oxidizes the porches (large structures surrounding rocket launch sites) and launch structures at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida and other coastal facilities. Fortunately, in the 1970s, researchers at the agency's Goddard Space Flight Center discovered that coating equipment with a protective layer containing zinc dust and potassium silicate would help prevent costly oxidation. Since the mid-1960s, scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) image processing laboratory have been working to improve video imaging software, so that astronomers can convert data from space probes into increasingly vivid, high-resolution images of distant planets and other celestial objects. The California Institute of Technology, which manages JPL for NASA, licensed the technology to a private company, Medical Technologies International Inc. (MTI), whose chief engineer, Robert Seltzer, was a veteran JPL researcher.

It can be used with ultrasound equipment to perform a non-invasive examination of the patient's carotid artery, which carries blood to the brain. In the late 1970s, Adam Kissiah Jr., an engineer at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia developed a hearing aid device for people with hearing impairments. They simply amplified the sound that entered the ear without clarifying it. In an effort to solve the problem, he used his knowledge of NASA's advances in electronic detection systems, telemetry, and sound and vibration sensors. He came up with the concept of a new type of hearing aid: an implant that would produce digital pulses to stimulate auditory nerve endings, which would then transmit the signals to the brain. It may seem hard to believe, but there was a time when eyeglasses were actually made of glass.

Not only were they heavy but if someone wearing them was hit by something, their lenses would break and throw off small fragments of glass that endangered vision. For that reason, in 1972, The U. Food and Drug Administration stated that all sunglasses and prescription lenses must be resistant to breakage; essentially forcing lens manufacturers to opt for a more durable plastic. Charge-coupled devices (CCD) have the ability to digitize light into data; in other words they offer an easier way to convert light energy (from photons) into digital images than other imaging methods. In 1997 NASA created a supersensitive CCD for Hubble to increase both quality and breadth of phenomena it could capture in cosmos. Infrared thermometers for ears; a NASA advance measure amount of energy emitted by eardrum same way temperature stars & planets is measured using infrared astronomy technology. Artificial limbs have dramatically improved through use advanced space programs; shock absorbing materials & robotics; Deep space exploration missions rely on excellent digital image processing technology developed by Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

JPL adapted this technology help create modern CAT scanners & radiographs. The list of space race technologies continues; consumer products such as wireless headphones; LED lighting; cordless portable vacuum cleaners; freeze-dried foods; memory foam; scratch-resistant eyeglass lenses & many other well-known products have benefited from research & development space technology. Modern portable computers are direct descendants Shuttle Portable Onboard Computer (SPOC); which was....

Kara Counihan
Kara Counihan

Incurable internet expert. Infuriatingly humble bacon ninja. Devoted pop culture advocate. Proud food enthusiast. Certified burrito fanatic. Amateur food practitioner.