7 Useful Items That Came From Space Tech

Space exploration technology is being used on Earth from agriculture to satellite navigation.

Space tech from the moon landings is being used on earth.

(Dima Zel / Shutterstock.com)

Did you ever wonder where some of the best modern inventions came from? You might be surprised to learn that some may be extraterrestrial. No, not from flying saucers and little green aliens, but they definitely have a connection to space.

Since the Apollo era, NASA has found terrestrial uses for many of the devices created for space exploration according to Fast Company. So much so that the US space agency set up a Technology Transfer Program (T2) in 1976 to make it easier for the public to use its patents.

There are actually around 1,800 devices and 5,500 pieces of software invented by NASA scientists every year. But not everyone is allowed to utilize this space tech.

“We make sure our intellectual property isn’t encumbered by a bunch of lookie-loos kicking tires,” Dan Lockney, T2’s program executive, told Fast Company. “If we’re going to let you use one of our patents, you have to demonstrate technical and business acumen, and have the resources to bring the technology to market.”

Here are just a few of the many space-exploration inventions that have changed the world:

Scratch Resistant Lenses

Scratch resistant eyeglass lenses are a must have. After all, who wants to view the world through scratches and cracks?  NASA created scratch-resistant lenses for astronauts’ helmet visors because the environment of space contains dirt and particles that could damage conventional lenses, according to the electronics company Phillips. The optical industry utilized the technology to come up with lenses that are now 10-times more scratch resistant than ever before.

Scratch resistant technology was created for use in space.

(JAOWFAH / Shutterstock.com)

Cordless Tools

There are no electrical outlets in space so NASA came up with cordless drills to take to the moon to use for rock collection. The scientists created a powerful magnet motor with a huge amount of battery life. Now that space tech is being used in cordless drills, screwdrivers and other tools. You may already have some at home.

Cordless drills were invented for space use.

(Billion Photos / Shutterstock.com)

Vertical Farming

The hottest trend in indoor farming was actually developed for space exploration according to Spinoff NASA, a site developed to highlight space technology uses on the planet. The agency has actually been working for decades to find a way to grow food soilless with limited space and water. This led to the first hydroponic indoor vertical farm in the US.

Illustration of a vertical farm.

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Robo Gloves

Robo gloves – a wearable human grasp assist device –  were developed in a joint project from researchers at the NASA Johnson space Center and General Motors. This allows wearers to grasp tools for a longer period of time, for working on the outside of the space station or as an assembly worker in an automotive factory.

Working outside the International Space Station.

(NASA images / Shutterstock.com)

Space Blankets

It’s really cold (or hot) in outer space. That’s why NASA scientists had to come up with ways to heat and cool people and equipment in space, according to How Stuff Works. They came up with the space blanket which is a very thin and durable sheath of material made from vaporized aluminum that can reflect or preserve body heat as needed like when walking on the moon. Now these space blankets are used by hikers and can be kept in your car if you are stuck in the snow.

Insulated space blanket.

(PRILL / Shutterstock.com)

Disaster Relief

Space technology has also added search and rescue efforts, reported Fast Company, by repurposing remote-sensing radar technology that can detect small movements in collapsed buildings from natural disasters.

Search and rescue workers.

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