What’s the Point of NASA?

Nasa Meaning

Going to the moon, orbiting the Earth, planning a manned mission to Mars. Is there any point to the activities of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)?

Actually there is. Many experiments, require micro-gravity environments, are conducted in space and this has led to a number of innovations. In addition they are by-products from rocket development and the global network of satellites. Here we look at the top 10, as selected by The Latest News:

  1. Digital image sensors – DSLR technology was invented by NASA. This came about after tiny, powerful cameras were needed for probes sent on interplanetary missions.
  2. Precision GPS (global positioning system) – used in satnavs in many cars, GPS is the product of satellite technology. GPS was invented by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to assist with aircraft navigation.
  3. Enriched baby food – when develop food for astronauts, technologists needed to find a way to add essential omega-3 fatty acids. This means of mixing and dehydrating a food additive led to the incorporation of the additive for formula baby milk.
  4. Memory foam – now part of many bed matrasses, memory foam was created as a means to keep test pilots cushioned in order to cope with air turbulence.
  5. Shock absorbers – shock absorbers are part of many buildings and they have played a part in protecting some buildings from earth tremors. Shock absorbers were invented to help stabilize rickets upon launching.
  6. Water filtration – deep space slights will create a problem for astronauts in terms of water. One way to preserve water is to recycle urine. This won’t be palatable to most people, but it has led to some advancement with water filtration technology and much of this is helping people in less developed areas in the world.
  7. Invisible braces – developed with NASA science, translucent ceramic braces have been invented. This is a new product and set to be the next big thing in orthodontistry.
  8. Safety grooming – safety grooming is about cutting parallel lines into concrete using diamond cutters. This help aircraft to land safely on runways, and this is particularly important in poor weather. The precision diamond cutters were developed by NASA.
  9. Treadmills – to train astronauts and to keep astronauts fit in space (micro-gravity can lead to the bones becoming brittle), the treadmill – common to many gyms – was a NASA creation.
  10. Air purifiers – another example of spacecraft technology now common to many homes.

These are just ten examples of the practical application of NASA technology. Further examples can be found at the NASA website.

About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.