January 9

10 NASA Spin-off Technologies That Shape Our Lives Everyday


NASA (which is short for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration), is the most influential aeronautics and aerospace research agency on the planet. The US government owned agency is at the forefront of next generation technology and has made some pretty awe inspiring discoveries and developments since its establishment back in 1958.

While some criticise NASA for squandering tax payer money on recent high profile projects such as the US$2.5 billion Mars Rover landing, the agency’s efforts have actually had a significant impact on our day to day lives. In fact, a handful of its original space mission projects have even been adapted into commercial products and Earth based services.
Want to know more? Read on for an overview of how NASA funded technology has helped change and shape our lives over the years:

1)Artificial limbs

Thanks to NASA’s commitment to researching robotics, shock absorption, comfortable materials and mouldable technology, NASA has played an important role in helping the private sector invent improved solutions for both human and animal prostheses.

2)Baby formula

What could possibly be the link between baby formula and space research?

Formulaid, a nutrient rich algae-based additive used in baby formula can actually be traced back to NASA research which investigated the use of algae as a recycling substance for extended travel into outer space.

3)Computer mouse

The humble computer mouse has become commonplace, however things weren’t always this way. According to NASA researcher Bob Taylor, the agency was the first to explore how a computer could be manipulated with an external device. While today the computer mouse is used for everything from paying bills to browsing Facebook, it was originally invented to operate NASA’s flight control systems, displays and simulation technology.

4)Mobile phone cameras

Contrary to popular belief mobile phone cameras were not pioneered by Nokia, Apple or Samsung. The technology can actually be accredited to a NASA researcher that developed a camera small enough to fit onto a spacecraft. This eventually translated into the mobile phone cameras we see today.

5)Scratch-Resistant Lenses

Scratch and spot resistance is a desirable feature in today’s high end sunglasses. But did you know that NASA’s attempts to find a diamond-hard coating for its aerospace systems was the driving force behind this technology?

6)Memory foam

Today, memory foam helps us get a good night’s sleep. However, back in the 1970s NASA pioneered the technology with its research into improving cushioning and crash protection on its spaceships.

7)Freeze dried food

You may eat it on camping trips or out of a cereal box, however freeze dried food was actually invented by NASA in order to keep its astronauts nourished and satisfied.

8)Fire resistant material

During its 1960s ‘man on the moon’ mission preparation NASA left no stone unturned. This included a solution which allowed its astronauts to resist the scorching heat of atmospheric re-entry. Today, the agency’s research into fire resistant material is used to craft state-of-the- art firefighting suits used across the globe.

9)Water filters

Found in offices and households alike, water filters are an everyday essential. Once again, NASA is largely to thank for this technology which originated from its research into turning sweat, respiration and urine into drinkable water.

10)Ski boots

Space and skiing don’t usually make an appearance in the same sentence. However, NASA technology played a large part in developing modern ski boots. Manufacturers copied NASA’s corrugated design which allows both astronauts and skiers to move freely.


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Trevor Sorbie


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