When NASA was formed in 1958 its main objective was to put an American on the moon before the Russians got there. The Space Race and later missions required massive innovation
Many of those scientific and technological breakthroughs had an impact far beyond the space program. Everyday objects we now take for granted were invented as part of NASA’s mission to explore space.
1. Artificial Limbs
Many of the parts used in modern artificial limbs were developed for space vehicles. Diamond coatings make joints last longer and special foams make prosthetics more comfortable. Advanced robotics make artificial limbs operate more like the real thing.
2. Cardiac Implants
Around 80 British patients a year are fitted with a heart-implant called a ventricular assist device (VAD)
These are used to keep blood flowing around the heart, when the muscle is no longer capable, before a donor is found.
A product of collaboration between NASA, MicroMed Technology Inc and scientists; the VAD is small, effective and life-saving.
NASA partnered with a chemical company to make a new material for parachute cords on Mars landers. It was stronger than steel and good at absorbing shocks. Tyre manufacturers developed the material further. It improved the tread life of conventional tyres by more than 100,000 miles.
4. Better baby milk
NASA scientists developed an additive from algae containing nutrients found in human milk. The additive is believed to help with mental and visual development. This enriched ingredient can now be found in 90% of commercially available baby formula in the United States.
5. Temper Foam mattresses
Originally developed to improve crash protection, temper foam has since been incorporated into a host of widely used products. It can be found in mattresses and pillows. It’s also used in protective sports equipment, amusement park rides and furniture.
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6. Computer technology
From real-time weather visualization and forecasting to high-resolution 3D maps of the Moon and Mars, NASA has always been at the forefront of computer technology advancement. To this day, NASA continues to develop and collaborate on improving software for more widespread use on Earth.