NASA has contributed many inventions and technologies that have significantly impacted our world. We’ve already explored three innovations we now depend on, but what others have there been?




Here are 10 notable inventions from NASA:

1. Scratch-Resistant Lenses

NASA developed a special coating for the plastic lenses used in space helmets and other equipment, making them more scratch resistant. You can now commonly find this coating on everyday items – like eyeglasses, cameras, and other consumer products. That means you can thank NASA the next time you put on your glasses and see clearly.


2. Freeze-Dried Food

Freeze-drying food has been a valuable development for life in space and on Earth. NASA's efforts to create compact, lightweight, and easy-to-store food for astronauts led to the development of freeze-drying technology, now used in a wide range of industries. We find it used for camping and hiking food, as well as the production of pharmaceuticals. (And have you seen astronaut ice cream?!)


3. Insulation

NASA developed advanced insulation materials to protect spacecraft from extreme temperatures in space. These materials are now used in home insulation, protective clothing, and other applications.


space-age insulation

NASA's "space-age" insulation is now used to help keep beer cold on Earth. (Source: NASA)


4. Artificial Limbs

NASA’s work on developing robotic arms and other devices for space exploration led to the creation of more advanced prosthetics for people with disabilities.

5. Cordless Power Tools

It’s not easy lugging tools up out of the atmosphere . . . and good luck finding a place to plug in your extension cord in space. NASA's need for lightweight and portable tools led to the development of the cordless power tools we know and love today. We can thank NASA for making our home improvement dreams easier.

6. Water Purification Systems

Sure, all these innovations are important, but this is arguably the most essential. NASA's research on water purification systems for use on the International Space Station has led to the development of advanced filtration and disinfection systems that are utilized in households and industrial settings. Not only are our astronauts staying hydrated, but these developments help provide clean drinking water in remote or disaster-stricken areas.


NASA water recycling system

This water recycler from the International Space Station turns urine and flush water from urinals into purified, potable water. (Source: NASA)


7. Memory Foam

That previous item may have been the most crucial, but this one is, for sure, is the comfiest. NASA scientists developed memory foam in the 1960s to help cushion astronauts during space travel and improve the safety of aircraft seats. It is now used in a wide range of applications, including mattresses, pillows, and footwear.


8. Infrared Ear Thermometers

NASA originally developed infrared sensors for use in space to measure the temperature of stars and planets. This research also led to the development of non-contact thermometers – something many of us have experienced in the past few years navigating life during the COVID-19 pandemic. These thermometers are now used in various industries, including healthcare, agriculture, and manufacturing.


For more on NASA's monumental achievements and impactful innovations, check out the MagellanTV series A World without NASA.

9. Satellite Imagery

When you think of space, satellites are among the first things that come to mind. NASA has been instrumental in developing the technology and infrastructure for satellite imagery, which is now used in a wide range of applications, from weather forecasting to land-use planning.


10. Solar Cells

NASA's research on solar cells has led to advances in solar power technology. Developing solar panels for use in space contributed to more efficient and affordable solar energy systems on Earth. We now utilize solar panels for various applications, from powering homes and businesses to providing electricity in remote locations.

These are just a few examples of the many NASA inventions that have significantly impacted our world. Explore our other articles and documentaries to learn more.



Title Image credit: NASA-Imagery via Pixabay.


Try for Free

Get Access to Premium Documentaries

Start your 14-day trial of MagellanTV and get access to 2,000+ documentaries, available anywhere, on any device

Start Free Trial