Surprising NASA Inventions You Can Find in Your Own Home
Over the years, NASA has invented a variety of useful items and technologies that aren’t just beneficial for a trip to Outer Space. In fact, many NASA inventions have been used to create everyday home items we have grown to rely on.
From the surprising way NASA changed baby formula (page 5) to the reason why it might be responsible for straighter teeth (page 10), we share the most surprising NASA inventions you can find in your home, ahead.
1. Food storage
Food storage wasn’t always as safe as it is today. Thanks to NASA and Pillsbury, we now have a safer standard for frozen foods that reduce food contamination and allows for extended storage life.
Next: Without this, Instagram probably wouldn’t exist.
2. Digital cameras
We can thank NASA for selfies. In the mid-1990s, the agency’s Jet Propulsion Lab invented a technology that allowed digital image sensors to operate on much less power. The results? A world of mainstream digital photography by way of smartphones, DSLR cameras, GoPros, and more.
Next: Let there be light.
Thomas Edison may have invented the lightbulb, but NASA invented LED a.m./p.m. bulbs. These lightbulbs are designed to improve the mind’s alertness during daytime and dim when it’s time to wind down for the evening.
In addition to discovering a new time of lightbulb, NASA also discovered that different light colors can have an energizing or drowsy effect on people.
Next: Olympic swimmers depend on this.
4. Speedo LZR Racer swimsuit
NASA once partnered with Speedo to test materials and seams for the Speedo LZR Racer swimsuit. The experiments took place in NASA’s wind tunnel and the Speedos have been worn by numerous Olympic medalists.
Next: This ingredient is essential for babies.
5. Baby formula
While NASA didn’t invent the first-ever baby formula, it did invent the baby formula used today. While researching and developing meal replacements for astronauts, scientists discovered an omega-3 fatty acid found only in breast milk. Today, that discovering is found in more than 90 percent of baby formulas.
Next: How to prevent food spoilage.
6. Plant-air purifiers
In order to keep gases from building up inside a space station, NASA invented an ethylene scrubber. Now, you can find the same technology in grocery stores (to keep fruits and veggies fresher longer).
Next: Thanks to NASA, we sleep better.
7. Memory foam
Another technology invented by NASA? Memory foam. Developed in 1987, memory foam was originally intended to cushion test pilots during flights.
Next: A must-have household item
When NASA partnered with Black & Decker to create battery-operated devices for sample collection, they didn’t know they would also be creating one of the most popular home appliances. The device was so quick and easy to use that it quickly made its mark in hospitals and homes across America.
Next: Society now depends on this technology.
GPS hasn’t always been precise. Thanks to a software developed by the Jet Propulsion Lab in the mid-1990s, GPS devices found in phones, cars, self-driving farm equipment, and more are more accurate than ever.
Next: Revolutionary braces
10. Invisible Braces
When NASA partnered with 3M Products to develop a clear ceramic material, they probably had no idea it would lead to straighter teeth. Now, companies like Invisalign and Smile Direct Club use the material to create invisible braces.
Next: Improved vision
11. Scratch-resistant glasses
You can thank NASA for scratch-resistant glasses, too. The agency conducted research to help improve helmet visors and in the 1980s, scientists used its findings to create scratch-proof eyeglasses, sunglasses, and goggles.
Next: Athletes could not do their jobs without this invention.
12. Cushioning gel in sneakers
While plotting ways to lighten astronaut suits and equipment, NASA developed blow rubber molding. The material is now used in the soles of running shoes and other athletic sneakers.
Next: Thanks to NASA, heating and cooling your home is more affordable.
Thanks to NASA, homes across the United States have more efficient insulation. Radiant barrier technology was invented over 40 years ago to help control the temperature of spacecraft. Today the invention — known as Eagle Shield — is used as cost-effective insulation in homes, shipping materials, water heaters, and buildings.
Next: This invention has saved hundreds of lives.
14. Space blankets
Space blankets were invented in 1973 to use as a sun shield to insulate the Skylab-3. NASA didn’t know its invention would end up a must-have in emergency and disaster kits everywhere.
Next: Another surprising NASA invention.
15. Water filters
Since every drop of water must be recycled, NASA takes water filtration very seriously. With that in mind, the agency invented a nano filter that is now used on Earth in remote villages and in water bottle devices that allow hikers to filter water sourced from streams and lakes.
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