Space exploration is exciting but we often can't see how it affects our daily lives beyond that.
Sending spacecraft, robotic missions and humans into space is not easy. The dangers of the space environment, and the difficulties presented by microgravity, radiation, isolation and more, means the development of new advanced technologies is a necessary and common occurence. Once a technology has been produced for the space industry, it's usually not that long before it will filter down to a public use.
The following items were developed for the space industry (or at least contain technology that was) and then filtered down to everyday use:
- Sunglasses - scratch resistant coatings: Developed to protect equipment, especially space helmet visors, from becoming scratched in space
- Thermal 'space' blanket: Invented by NASA in 1964 to protect astronauts and technology from the extremes of space
- Goal keeping gloves - temperature regulating foam: Originally developed for NASA spacesuit gloves
- Memory foam shoe inserts - memory foam: Invented in the 1960s to improve crash protection and comfort
- Baby milk formula - nutritional additives: Many baby milk formulas contain an oil called Formulaid™, derived from algae and originally discovered as part of NASA-sponsored nutrition research
The following items were developed for everyday life, but are now used in the space industry:
- Fisher space pen
- Cordless power tools - though a cordless vacuum cleaner was designed especially for Apollo Moon missions