Special Report

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

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26. Portable computer

The first portable computer, the Grid Compass, was used on multiple shuttle missions in the 1980s. Nicknamed SPOC (Shuttle Portable On-Board Computer), the computer could communicate with onboard devices and was used to launch satellites off space shuttles.

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27. LEDs

Intended for use to help in growing plants aboard space shuttles, NASA’s LED technology has been utilized in the development of LED medical devices that relax muscles and relieve pain in soldiers, cancer patients, and those with Parkinson’s disease.

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28. 3D food printing

The ability to cook food on long space missions is no longer impossible with the invention of 3D food printers. This technology is now being refined for commercial use for the production of chocolates and other confections as well as to create nutritious foods for diabetics and others with specific dietary needs.

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29. Computer mouse

While searching for a way to increase interaction with onboard computers and allow users to perform tasks like manipulate data, NASA and Stanford researchers developed the first mouse.

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30. Athletic shoes

A shock-absorbent rubber molding designed for astronauts’ helmets inspired what is now a common feature in the soles of modern athletic shoes.

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