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8 Everyday Products to Thank NASA For

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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 January 13, 2022

10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

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10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

A honeymoon is important.  The wedding is over.  The months, or even years, of stress and planning are finally over.  It’s time for the two of you to relax, settle in, and start enjoying your time together as you embark on your first journey as a family.

To make the most of this time for the least amount of money, it’s important to focus on what you want out of a honeymoon.  This isn’t your typical list of touristy honeymoon locations everyone goes to.  Rather, it’s a list of cheap honeymoon experiences a couple can enjoy together, regardless of where it’s at.

1. Camping

A week long camping trip is a fantastic way to see how you mesh together as a couple.  You’re put in a low impact “survival” situation where it’s just the 2 of you and nature.  You have a chance to see how your new spouse handles themselves when left with the basics of life.  There are amazing national parks all over the United States where you can camp for a week for $20-30, disconnect from technology, and enjoy some of the natural wonders our nation has to offer.

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2. Staycation

You don’t have to go anywhere for a honeymoon.  In fact, the tradition of taking a honeymoon vacation is a relatively new one.  Prior to the 19th century, a honeymoon involved staying home together for a month to get to know each other physically.  Think of how blissful it could be to take a full month off work, disconnect from the outside world, and focus entirely on projects together.  You may not be wowing your friends and family with pictures of some exotic location, but they’ll be envious of your escape from the rat race nonetheless.

3. Island Getaway

People tend to overspend on their honeymoon vacations to Hawaii, Tahiti, etc.  Going to these places doesn’t have to be expensive.  You don’t need to stay in a 5 star resort when you’re on a Best Western budget.  You’re there to be in the atmosphere of the island, not a hotel room. Book a cheap flight and sleep in a hotel alternative, on the beach or in your car.  It’s the view in paradise that really matters.

4. Fancy Resort

Book an expensive resort, spa, or retreat in the city you live in.  While this may seem counterintuitive as a cheap destination, when you consider your savings on airfare and other travel costs, you can afford to be treated like royalty within your own city limits.  If you book a honeymoon package, you’ll end up with a lot of free amenities and extra attention.  There’s no need to fly halfway across the world to live the good life.

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5. Road Trip

The journey is often more fulfilling than the actual destination.  If you fly out to some exotic locale, you’ll be stuck on a plane for 8-30 hours.  Rent a luxury car, pick a handful of places you each have always wanted to visit, and go on an adventure.  You can keep food costs down by packing your own snacks, but it’s always a good idea to sample the local delicacies wherever you go, even if it’s only a few states over.

6. Charter a Boat

If the ocean is your thing, a week-long cruise can cost you $1500-$3000 per person, depending on the destination.  You also have to factor in travel costs to and from the cruise, alcohol, souvenirs, and on-shore excursions.  You’ll also be surrounded by people.  For the same price (and often much cheaper), you can charter your own boat and enjoy the experience in private.

7. Las Vegas/Atlantic City

If gambling is your thing, these are the places to do it.  Which one you choose depends on your preference, budget, and proximity.  The way to make this vacation cheaper is to gamble smart.  Stay away from low odd tables (i.e craps, roulette) and read up on the MIT blackjack strategies to beat the house.  If you do it right, you can win enough for a free trip (and gain a valuable team skill in the process).

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8. Themed Retreats

There are weeklong retreats all over the world where you can fully immerse yourselves as a couple into a hobby you’re both passionate about.  Go on a yoga/meditation retreat, a ranch, a vineyard/farm, a backpacking adventure, treasure hunt, or whatever you’re into.

9. Working Honeymoon

Your honeymoon doesn’t have to be a vacation.  For a truly memorable experience, dedicate a week to a charity or volunteer organization.  You can drive out to a campground to help restore it in the offseason.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to volunteer to help out your local animal shelter, plant trees, help the homeless, etc.  Use the time to do something together as a couple that will fulfill you spiritually while contributing to the community.  Just because you’re on a honeymoon doesn’t mean you can’t be productive.

10. Festivals, Fairs & Special Events

Every city, state, and country has festivals, fairs, and special events.  Find one you’re interested in.  If you time your wedding right, your honeymoon can be a trip to one of these festivals.  Burning Man, SXSW, Bonnaroo, the Renaissance Fair, regional harvest festivals, Mardi Gras, New Years Eve in Times Square, a movie premiere, or whatever you’re into.  If you plan your honeymoon at the right time in the right place, the possibilities are endless.

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Featured photo credit: Josue Michel via unsplash.com

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