A Quick Top 5 NASA Inventions Of All-Time


NASA holds over 6,300 patents so it is no wonder that some of them have improved life here in the states. This is just a few of NASA's inventions that were meant for astronauts but ended up being adapted for every day modern uses as well. With them being so common now, some of them you would never guess were designed and built by NASA scientists.

Invention Type #1: Cordless Tools

To be clear "Back and Decker" came out with this but NASA perfected it with them. This one is so common that basically every home in America has a cordless tool of one kind or another. These types of technology were a matter of practicality for the astronauts that were meant to use them. It allowed them to move about freely without the added concern for snagging cords on equipment. We use them for similar scenarios here on the ground albeit with less worry for drastic accidental results. Certainly, cordless technology has spread, and we’re lucky to have it.

Invention Type #2: Temper Foam

In the late 60s, NASA’s Ames Research Center developed temper foam to serve as shock-absorbing padding. A polymeric foam material, it’s capable of high-energy absorption while being extremely soft. It was originally designed for crash protection for airplane passengers. Since its inception by aeronautical engineer Charles Yost, temper foam has been applied to a wide variety of products. Memory foam mattresses and pillows offer comfort to consumers. In fact, manufacturers and engineers incorporate this material into automobiles, motorcycles, civilian and military aircraft, sports helmets and equipment, horseback saddles, and even in amusement park rides for impact support and protection. All of its many applications make temper foam one of the most widely used and recognized of NASA’s inventions.

Invention Type #3: Aural Infrared Thermometers

This strange sounding tool is more common than you'd think. These are the ones that can take your temperature reading from your ear instead of your mouth or (you know where) other places you may not want to. Thankfully these ones here are more accurate and are quicker with no mess needed. They contain no mercury as well. The way they work is by bouncing infrared lasers into the skin to relay the temp back to the receiver and you have a reading. This has been great for hospitals, clinics, parents, and anybody who has needed to check their core temperature.

Invention Type #4: Enriched Baby Formula

In the 1980s, NASA funded research to develop a life-support system that would not take up space, consume too much power, or require extensive maintenance during long-duration space travel. Researchers discovered that strains of microalgae could be used as an oxygen source, waste disposal catalyst, and as a nutrient supply. The project’s scientists formed Martek Biosciences Corporation in 1985 to develop their main nutritional supplement products: life’s DHA and life’s ARA. These products are added to over 90 percent of infant formulas sold in the USA, plus formulas sold in 65 other countries. This specific nutritional enrichment ingredient could previously only be found in human breast milk and offers substantial benefits to infants for the development of their brain, eyes, and heart health.

Invention Type #5: Scratch Resistant Coating

When was the last time you dropped your glasses or anything else with this magical coat on it and thought "Man I'm glad that didn't scratch" after the fact? You can thank the good folks at NASA for this one here as well.

Made from a mix of Carbon and Silicone this stuff is the very thing that eyeglass wearers have been so grateful to have on their specs. Where before you had to try to polish the scratches out or just buy new lenses altogether. Hard to argue then, that the former is better than the latter here.

Final Innovative NASA Thoughts

Engineers and researchers at NASA have been discovering new technologies and making scientific breakthroughs since the agency was established.  And, as you can see, ultimately, NASA is responsible for these and many more inventions that’re being used by millions daily. Thanks NASA!

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