Special Report

Inventions We Use Every Day That Were Actually Created for Space Exploration

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21. Memory foam

Memory foam was originally invented as a pad for astronaut seats that would mold to their bodies during the high forces of takeoff and landing, then return to a neutral state. This eliminated the need to customize seats to individual astronauts’ body sizes.

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22. Workout machines

Because prolonged exposure to zero-gravity leads to bone loss and muscle atrophy, NASA created workout machines to enable astronauts to maintain physical fitness while in space.

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23. Home insulation

NASA began experimenting with insulation technology for the Apollo space crafts and suits, leading to the invention of common construction insulation.

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24. Infrared ear thermometers

Infrared ear thermometers, which allow for instant temperature capture without the risk of picking up pathogens and causing cross-infection, utilize the same technology developed for assessing the temperature of distant planets.

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25. Ice-resistant airplanes

Ice is a real threat for shuttles in space, and NASA has devised multiple electronic solutions to prevent ice formation on spacecrafts, some of which are now used on commercial aircraft.