Thanks, NASA!

15 NASA inventions that make life on Earth better

NASA’s innovations are easy to point out when they’re streaking across the sky or sending photos from another world. But NASA has changed life on Earth for the better in subtle ways.

Here are 15 NASA inventions that make life on Earth better.

15. Undersea rovers

Deep-sea vehicles developed in a NASA partnership allow scientists to study otherwise unreachable parts of the ocean.

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14. Medical LEDs

Initially developed to grow plants in space, red LEDs are now being used in medical devices to relieve pain and improve blood circulation.

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13. Foil blankets

In 1964 NASA developed the emergency prep staple, widely used to keep people warm in extremely cold environments. Long-distance runners also use them to regulate body temperature.

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12. Firefighting equipment

Firefighters’ breathing apparatus and communications gear are based on NASA research into lightweight, heat-resistant materials and durable radios.

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11. Solar panels

NASA didn’t invent the solar panel, but they’re viable today because of NASA’s success in making them more efficient and durable.

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10. Streamlined truck cabs

Aerodynamic truck cabs make transporting cargo by road much more efficient, thanks to aerodynamics research by NASA that reduce drag.

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9. Wireless headphones

Wireless headphones used today trace their roots back to compact headsets designed by NASA for pilots.

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8. Memory foam

Created to absorb shock for passengers in airplane crashes, memory foam is still commonly used in safety equipment, but it’s best known to the public for its use in mattresses.

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7. Freeze-dried food

A process for creating stable, easily stored food for astronauts allows freeze-dried food to keep 98 percent of its nutritional value.

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6. Scratch-resistant lenses

Scratch-resistant lenses found in modern eyeglasses come from NASA’s work on the same technology for spacesuit helmets.

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5. Baby formula

An algae-based nutritional supplement essential to most modern baby formulas came out of NASA research using the aquatic plant to aid waste recycling in life support systems on space missions.

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4. Prosthetic limbs

NASA’s research and funding for artificial muscle systems, moldable foam, and robotics are leading to next-generation prosthetic limbs that are more functional and comfortable.

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3. Cell phone cameras

Your selfies are only possible thanks to lightweight, low-power camera tech created to take photos in space.

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2. Water filtration

A source of clean water is essential on space missions, and systems based on NASA’s water filtration are now used to deliver safe drinking water on Earth.

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1. Laptop computers

An essential tool for school, work, and watching cat videos, the modern laptop descends from portable computers used on space shuttle missions.

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