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8 Everyday Products to Thank NASA For

8 Everyday Products to Thank NASA For

We all know who NASA is. They put guys on the moon. They put space shuttles in orbit. Someday they’ll put people on Mars. But did you know they’re also responsible for some of the stuff we use in our lives everyday? Here is a list of things that you probably use on a regular basis but might have never known originated from the labs of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Camera Phones

That selfie you took at the beach? Thank NASA for it. This little camera was invented in the early 1990s by Eric Fossum who worked for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). At the time, NASA was trying to miniaturize cameras that were placed on-board interplanetary spacecraft that would be lightweight while also maintaining high-quality images for scientific purposes. Fossum’s solution was called the complementary metal-oxide semiconductor Active Pixel Sensor (CMOS-APS). As cell phone cameras exploded onto the scene in the mid-2000s, Fossum’s invention proved the ideal camera for small spaces. Not only was NASA responsible for the CMOS-APS, they are also responsible for digital photography itself, a concept that was the brainchild of JPL engineer Eugene Lally in the 1960s.

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The Dust Buster

While Black and Decker already had the battery-powered tool concept in 1961, it was NASA who fast-tracked the technology to put us where we are today in the world of cordless tools. During the Apollo missions, NASA required a portable drill capable of extracting core samples from below the lunar surface. They worked with Black and Decker to develop a computer program that would optimize the design of the drill’s motor to create the most efficient use of its power. It was that computer program that led to the portable vacuum cleaner we now call the Dustbuster.

Artificial Limbs

NASA’s continuous funding and research into the area of prosthetic limbs has led to some of the most technologically advanced artificial limbs ever conceived. In partnership with private-sector companies, this research has led to advances in robotics and shock-absorptive materials as well as the development of artificial muscle systems with robotic sensing and functionally dynamic prostheses.

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Transportation Safety

NASA researchers are responsible for a dramatic decrease in the number of highway accidents and increased safety in the areas of airplane takeoffs and touchdowns. The invention of grooved pavement on both runways and interstate highways have improved the performance of airplane tire friction performance on wet runways by 200-300% and have cut down on highway accidents due to slippery conditions by 85%.

Memory Foam

When you’re falling asleep on your nice memory foam pillow, think of NASA. This breakthrough material was designed in the 1970s for aircraft seats to minimize the impact during landings and improve crash protection for commercial airplane passengers. The open cell polyurethane-silicon also gave space shuttle astronauts something nice and cushy to sit on as they rocketed into orbit. Memory foam is also being used by doctors to support patients by reducing pressure on certain body parts. The material is now incorporated into several widely used products, such as pillows, mattresses, sports safety equipment, amusement park rides, and human and animal prostheses. NASCAR also uses it to provide additional safety to drivers.

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Solar Panels

Those solar panels that might power some of your homes and offices? NASA. In the late 1980s, NASA sponsored a 28-member coalition of private companies, universities, and other government organizations to create solar power sources. The union, called the Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology Alliance, was tasked with the goal of building a remotely piloted aircraft to fly unmanned missions at high altitudes for days at a time using a power source that did not add weight to the craft. The result of these single-crystal silicon solar cells was improved energy at a relatively lower cost and reduced pollution.

Water Filters

A lot of us take clean water for granted. Next time you take a drink of water, give NASA a thanks. The agency created special filters in the 1970s to ensure that astronauts had safe drinking water while in space. Working with Umpqua Research Company, NASA crafted filter cartridges that used iodine to clean water supplies from the space shuttles. The Microbial Check Valve, as it is called, is now an important part of cleaning water for municipal water plants. Recently, NASA has increased its studies in creating units that are able to more efficiently recycle human waste into a safe drinkable water resource.

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Scratch-Resistant Eyeglasses

It’s a great time to live for those of us who have to wear eyeglasses. Prior to this NASA invention, glasses were made of the easily shattering kind of glass, which wasn’t so great if you were the person behind the lenses. In 1972, the FDA required manufacturers of eyeglasses to use plastic instead of glass for lenses. Unfortunately, however, plastic tends to scratch easily. NASA scientist Ted Wydeven of the agency’s Ames Research Center then created a thin, plastic coat that would protect space helmet visors and other aerospace equipment from dirt and other debris. In 1983, Foster-Grant, the sunglasses manufacturer, commercialized the scratch-resistant coating.

Featured photo credit: Elle.com via elle.com

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Jordan Strickler

Owner, AgriMediaOnline.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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