Special Report

30 NASA Inventions We Use Everyday

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1. Artificial limbs

Innovations originally designed for space vehicles, including artificial muscle systems, robotic sensors, diamond joint-coatings, and temper foam, make artificial human limbs more functional, durable, comfortable, and life-like.

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2. Scratch resistant lenses

After NASA developed scratch-resistant astronaut helmets, the agency gave a license to Foster Grant to continue experimenting with scratch-resistant plastic coatings, which now comprise most sunglass and eyeglass lenses, prescription and otherwise.

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3. Insulin pump

Needing to monitor astronauts’ vital signs in space, the Goddard Space Flight Center created monitoring systems that have been adapted to regulate blood sugar levels and release insulin as needed.

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4. Firefighting equipment

The polymer textiles created for use in space suits have been valuable in creating flame-retardant, heat-resistant suits for firefighters. Newer suits also feature circulating coolant to keep firefighters from succumbing to heat and advanced breathing systems modeled after astronaut life support systems.

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5. DustBusters

During the Apollo moon landings, NASA partnered with Black & Decker to invent various battery-powered tools for drilling and taking rock samples in space. This led to the creation of the ultra-light, compact, cordless DustBuster.

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