The modern world is driven by technology and space technology doubtless is at the cutting edge. Ever since man has been aware of the vast expanse of stars and outer space, a desire to reach them, explore the universe has excited scientists and thinkers alike. Many space craft missions are today only broadening the space horizon, more and more. It is in the quest for developing scientific instruments, technologies and gadgets for space craft missions that many of the scientific discoveries made have been applied to everyday use for us. Some of them have been truly revolutionary that have spurred the global economy and transformed our lives. It is actually out of the ordinary to know how every bit of advancement done by space science has a lot to do with almost every aspect of our daily life. Here are ten most significant benefits drawn out of space technology:
A camera on a cell phone has become a integral part of the everyday use gadget. And the world owes it to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the US space exploration agency, for this amazing feature that has revolutionized both telephony and photography. The concept of the digital camera was first developed by engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in the year 1960. It was later in 1990s that a team at the JPL began to work on small cameras that could fit on spacecrafts. Today, 1/3 of mobile phone cameras use the technology pioneered by this research years ago!
The Lewis Research Center contributed to preparing sunglass lenses that are highly resistant to spotting and scratches. Actually the research was for finding a material to find a diamond hard coating for aerospace systems. Later in 1980, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. got the license to use the patented technique for creating that diamond-hard coatings. Such a coating when applied to lenses has resulted in having scratch resistant lenses for the common man.
It is NASA again that has contributed to the development of modern water filtration system and development of new water purification technologies. For manned long space exploration missions, the scientist were confronted with the problem of filtering used water, in order to replenish the limited supplies a space craft could carry. The water filtration technology developed has been used to treat impure water and if applied on a larger scale, could help to meet the growing global populations drinking water needs.
Space technology has at times proved very useful in development of technologies for non-space use, some of which have been exploited by the private sector. A case in example is the company that developed the Space Shuttle Main Engine. The very same company is now using the technology to create clean energy consumptive devices. This technology minimizes the emission of carbon.
NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which developed the digital imaging technology, which use computer processed numerical representation for physical images, were actually required to locate objects during a space program. Later the technology proved to be helpful for development of a number of medical technologies, which include Computer Axial Tomography (CAT) scanners in radiography.
NASA carried out extensive research into space food while planning for long-period Apollo missions. This was when the technique of freeze drying was discovered. In this technique, food was immediately frozen after cooking and then heated slowly in a vacuum chamber so the ice crystals got removed. The end product retained 98 percent of its nutritional elements!
NASA’s Video Image Stabilization and Registration (VISAR) technique was used by Intergraph Government Solutions to develop its Video Analyst System. Later this technique was used by FBI to analyze video footages. Now VAS is also being used by military to deploy weapons and for mission debriefing.
The technique that is used to cut grooves in concrete in order to increase traction and avoid injuries was first introduced to reduce aircraft accidents on wet runways. The technique was originally developed at Langley Research Center and helped to test the grooving at airports and highways. Applied on roads it has helped to reduce skidding and improved a vehicle’s cornering ability on curves.
This is only because of NASA’s regular funding and innovative approach toward robotics and shock-absorption materials that entrepreneurs have been able to obtain satisfactory solutions for human and animal prostheses. Achievements such as artificial muscle system with robotic sensing introduced by Environmental Robots Inc. have been used to create highly effective artificial limbs. The temper foam technology developed by NASA has also enabled to develop custom-moldable materials which give the feel and look of human flesh. The same technique is helpful in preventing friction between living skin and the prosthesis.