The Influence of Space Technology in Our Everyday Lives

People all over the globe watched as the space shuttle Atlantis took its last trip into space last week. This marked the conclusion of NASA’s space shuttle program but the thousands of technologies which were born from the program will stay with us far into the future. We use technologies from the space program at home, work, and when driving.

What comes to mind when you consider technologies developed by NASA? Probably rockets, spacesuits, and freeze-dried foods. It will surprise you to discover just how many common uses they have found for technologies originally produced for the space program. NASA releases an annual periodical, called Spinoff, which is dedicated to educating the public about the variety of technologies with origins at NASA that have become commercialized worldwide.

Here are a few common items that may surprise you to know wouldn’t exist without NASA’s technology.

Athletic Shoes – A process called blow rubber molding was developed to produce space helmets and is now utilized in many jogging shoes. This technique allows companies to make hollow soles in order to fill them with a shock absorbing substance. Nike Air is one common shoe that uses this process.

DustBusters – Engineers at Black and Decker created a computer program that enables motors to perform well even when using very little power. Thus the cordless power drill and DustBuster was created.

Smoke Detectors – These were first created for Skylab, America’s first space station, in 1970. They are now so prevalent that you cannot legally build a house without installing them.

The desire to explore space has inspired humans throughout time. The space shuttle program pushed these inspirations into the development of incredible technologies. We’ll miss the space shuttle but the desire to build bigger and better technology for space travel will not fade. We’ll probably see a lot more technologies developed by NASA turning up in our homes, hospitals, and lives for years to come.