NASA Inventions You May Have Used

The reality is, you’ll probably never set foot on the Moon, but you come into contact with NASA inventions almost every day. In fact, NASA has filed more than 6,300 patents with the U.S. government. Here are some of the things made for space that you may use every day, courtesy of HowStuffWorks.com:

  • Water filters. Astronauts needed a way to cleanse the water they take into space, and to keep it clean for longer periods of time. So NASA engineers invented a charcoal filter that contains silver ions – which kill germs and prevent bacterial growth. So, if you bought a silver ion filter for your home water supply - or for your last camping trip - you owe a big “thank you!” to NASA.
  • Cordless power tools. Apollo astronauts needed a small, lightweight drill that was powerful enough to dig deep into the surface of the Moon. Since rigging up an electrical cord in space would be a problem, NASA worked with Black & Decker to invent a battery-powered drill. The same technology is used today in cordless screwdrivers, vacuums, and medical instruments.
  • Fancy sneakers. Today's athletic shoes contain bouncy, shock-absorbing insoles because astronauts needed an extra spring in their steps on the Moon.
  • If your teeth were straightened with invisible braces, three cheers for NASA! It’s made from a translucent crystalline plastic that was invented to protect the infrared antennas of heat-seeking missiles, and is one of the most successful products in orthodontic history.
  • Also, if you have scratch-resistant sunglasses, get this: They’re made with the same technology that keeps visors on space helmets from getting pitted by microscopic space dust and debris.
  • Finally, there’s one so-called NASA invention that didn’t come from the space program at all. Remember Tang orange drink mix? General Mills actually invented it in 1957. The product was pretty much a failure until NASA chose it for the space program. To this day, people think it was invented for astronauts.

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