The space race between the USA and Russia was an incredible contest of technological supremacy. The two great nations invested unlimited resources and manpower in an attempt to be the first to put a man on the moon. NASA is the National Aeronautics and Space Association. It is the US government agency responsible for developments in the air and space. Its Russian counterpart is now called Roscosmos.
Leaving the cozy confines of earth and venturing into space is not child’s play. For starters, there’s no oxygen or water up there. Moreover, space is a giant vacuum with temperatures ranging from freezing cold to burning hot. To overcome these barriers, NASA scientists and engineers had to invent a host of technologies, some of which have found their way in our day-to-day lives.
Here are some of the technologies that helped put a man on the moon in 1969, and continue to make our lives comfortable.
Memory foam was in use long before it found its way to your shoes and pillows. NASA used it in astronauts’ seats and helmets to cushion much of the impact during a crash landing. What makes the material incredible is its ability to deform upon absorbing impact and then regain its original size and shape. It is now used in a variety of applications, such as mattresses, in NASCAR and Formula 1 racing cars, and wheelchairs amongst other things.
Invisible braces come from NASA’s creativity and ingenuity. Who knew that TPA or polycrystalline alumina, a transparent substance originally used to protect parts of heat-seeking missile trackers would be correcting smiles someday! Thanks to NASA and a company called Ceradyne, metal wires and brackets are gradually disappearing from your dentist’s tool kit and your mouths!!
Cell Phone Cameras
NASA engineers invented miniature sensors for cameras as these were necessary for space missions. This paved the way for phones with high-definition cameras. Don’t forget to tag NASA the next time you upload a selfie on social media.
Scratch Resistant Glass
The scratch-resistant coating on your glasses is a product of NASA’s moon mission. Early spacecraft windows and astronauts’ helmet visors were made of heavy-duty glass. But that proved to have a major defect – it developed scratches easily. To overcome this, NASA and its collaborators invented a scratch-resistant coating material.
Weather forecasting, GPS navigation, video-calling, Direct To Home services (TV), social media and the Internet all require thousands of satellites transmitting real-time information to the earth. And NASA is undoubtedly the champion of this technology.
Written by: Akash Dubey. Akash is a freelance writer and editor. In his free time, he enjoys reading, playing the guitar and taking long walks.