12 Surprising Aerospace Inventions That We Use on Earth

One could argue that government funded space exploration hasn’t done anything for you lately. You’d be wrong. We have collected a list of inventions from NASA, used in space that help people right here on everyone’s favorite spinning rock:

Infrared Ear Thermometers

Developed to measure the thermal radiation emitted by the eardrum, similar to the way the temperature of stars and planets are measured. This method avoids contact with mucous membranes and allows newborns and incapacitated patients to have their temperatures checked. And on a much bigger scale, planets.

Correcting Your GPS Signal Errors

Remember your first GPS that told you to turn into a lake? In the 1990s, scientists developed the software that corrects that and is accurate within inches. John Deere licensed the software and used it in their self-driving farm equipment. Nearly 70% of North American farmland is cultivated by self-driving tractors, based on the RTG software developed at NASA

Invisible Braces

Originally used as protection for infrared antennae on heat seeking missile trackers, this fancy transparent ceramics now improve people’s teeth.

Scratch-Resistant Lenses

Using scratch resistant glasses? Thank NASA for the technology, originally used to protect space equipment from scratching in space, especially helmet visors.

Emergency Blankets

Used in first aid kits and emergencies for people in shock, these are designed to reduce the heat loss in a person’s body. These are now used worldwide, given to endurance athletes, the military, in emergencies, backpackers, refugees, and disaster victims.

Temper Foam

Before it was a mattress, this padding was meant to improve protection for airline passengers in an airline crash. It’s now used in mattresses, pillows, both military and civilian air crafts, cars, motorcycles, sports safety equipment, amusement park rides, arenas, horseback saddles, archery targets, furniture, and both human and animal prostheses. Kinda useful.

Shock Absorbers for Buildings

Originally used to safely remove the fuel and electrical connectors from the space shuttles during launch. They’re now used to protect buildings from earthquakes, these absorbers were originally used

Enriched Baby Food

Originally inventing a nutrition enrichment was for long-duration space travel. A variation can now be found in over 90% of the infant formula sold in the United States – and was added to infant formulas in over 65 other countries.

Solar Panels

There’s not a lot of electric outlets in space. Solar panels are still used on most Earth orbiting satellites, but were originally used as an alternative power source on the Vanguard satellite, t Now used in solar panels, it’s also possible to use them to power your house.

Now that we’ve gone over the basic list of how aerospace inventions have helped change daily life, just remember that this is only a partial list. There’s much more to space exploration then we know – and who knows what we’ll invent tomorrow?

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