10 Surprising household inventions developed by NASA that you never knew

NASA or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was established in 1958. The primary objective of NASA was to study space exploration and travel as well as observing the Earth. However somewhere along the way NASA also ended up condoning and promoting scientific inventions and began to take on the hue of a multi niche scientific organization which is why there are many inventions routed through NASA. Till date the space agency has over 6300 patents and among them here are ten surprising household inventions invented by NASA that you couldn’t have known about.


1 Enriched Baby Formula

NASA experimented with microalgae to support life on extended space flight. NASA scientists discovered a natural source of Omega 3 fatty acids which are usually found in breast milk. Today 90% of baby formula actually contains these microalgae which was actually a NASA invention.

Enriched Baby Formula

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2 Memory Foam

Did you even suspect that the memory foam mattress and pillow that helps you sleep at night was developed by NASA? NASA invented temper foam in 1970 to minimize the force of impact for during landings for astronauts. Also known as memory foam the idea was to improve seat cushioning and crash protection for airline pilots and passengers. Memory foam can absorb shock and return to original state. It is widely used today in pillows, mattresses, helmets and even prosthetics.

Memory Foam

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3 The Ribbed Swimsuit

In 1987, it was the ribbed swimsuit a NASA invention that helped the USA wins the Olympic medal and the America’s cup on Feb 4th 1987. Worn by Skipper Dennis Connor who guided his yachting team to victory at Fremantle Australia, the ribbed suit has a long narrow cut called a riblet not visible to the naked eye. The tiny groove is also used in airplanes and boats as well as plumbing systems to decrease friction. Although such suits were developed by Speedo, today they are banned from Olympic competition.

 The Ribbed Swimsuit

Image Source: www.nasa.gov

4 Invisible Braces

Invisible ceramic braces were manufactured by a private company called Ceradyne in collaboration with NASA’s advanced ceramic research program. The result was one of the best selling orthodontic products of all time. Called Invisalign braces, they were made from transparent polycrystalline alumina (TPA) but guess what?? The substance was also created to track heat seeking missiles.

Invisible Braces

Image Source: www.smilequestdental.com

5 Insulin Pumps

Among inventions invented by NASA to keep track of astronauts health conditions, NASA researchers at the Goddard Space Flight Center invented an insulin pump that monitored blood sugar levels and released insulin whenever it as required. Today Diabetes patients have benefited from the device.

Insulin Pumps

Image Source: www.medtronic-diabetes.com.au

6 Aircraft Anti-Icing System and Winglets

NASA’s most significant technology was the Winglet which is a standard feature in most airplanes helping them have a smoother flight. KATS or Kelly Aerospace Therma Systems collaborated with NASA to develop the Thermawing, a DC powered air-conditioned system for single engine airplanes. It melted ice through graphite foils that heat up on introducing electricity which meant safer flights.

Aircraft Anti-Icing System and Winglets

Image Source: www.pinkbullets.nl

7 Precise GPS

GPS wasn’t as accurate as it is today. GPS gained higher levels of precision after NASA developed software known as ‘Precise GPS’ that would feature accuracy of location within a range of centimeters.

Precise GPS

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8 Home Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors used in homes and offices was a design perfected by NASA over the original invention of the smoke detector. NASA modified the original smoke detector to include a adjustable sensor that prevented false alarms. Detectors developed by NASA also warned astronauts of harmful gases.

Home Smoke Detectors

Image Source: www.goliath.com


9 Portable Cordless Vacuum

The cordless vacuum was invented by NASA using the same technology used by astronauts travelling to the moon. The technology was the same as the battery operated drills used for extracting samples form the moon’s surface. Most of the inventions invented by NASA were lightweight tools and gadgets that would be convenient for use in space flights which is why items like the cordless vacuum benefited from such technology.

Portable Cordless Vacuum

Image Source: www.allergyandair.com

10 Nanofiber Water Filters

Nanofiber water filters were developed by NASA for astronauts to drink pure bacteria free water. NASA’s nano fiber filtration system was soon copied by all water filtration companies today.

Nanofiber Water Filters

Image Source: www.trend.nu


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