In today's world of booming and fast growing technology, we sometimes forget the humble beginnings of the modern computer age. You may have heard the saying that today's smartphone is a thousand times stronger than the computers that put the first man on the moon. That is mind-boggling in and of itself.
So it turns out exploring space is exceedingly challenging and many unseen problems are constantly arising. Scientists at NASA are always on their toes figuring out creative new ways to solve the ultra weird problems that come along with putting a man or vehicle into space. Sure things go well on Earth with normal gravity and an excellent protective atmosphere from radiation, but when you blast them off into the solar system things turn strange in a hurry. Many technological advances today were made by NASA just trying to troubleshoot problems that could cost billions of dollars or even a human life.
Here is some technology created by NASA that has fueled our rapidly evolving computer age:
Water Filters- We can’t survive on Earth without clean water, neither can astronauts. in the 70’s NASA needed to think of a way to provide clean drinking water for the astronauts. Since bringing a whole lot of water on board was impractical, the scientist devised a water filtration system that is used all around the world today. It is so successful in fact that not one drop gets wasted on the International Space Station, even urine is recycled back into safe drinking water.
Cochlear Implants- There is one kind of video on the internet bound to make just about anyone tears up, that is when a child hears their mother's voice for the very first time. These videos showcase the amazing technology of cochlear implants invented by a NASA engineer named Adam Kissah Jr. Hearing impaired himself, Adam took everything he knew about NASA's advances in telemetry, sound and vibrations sensors, and electronic sensing systems and turned it into a new innovative hearing aid. The cochlear implant uses digital pulse to stimulate the auditory nerve endings that transmit signals to the brain. Now millions of people are enjoying this incredible application of space technology.
ArterioVision- Everyday tons of data is sent to NASA from various spacecraft around the solar system. In order to produce the vivid and colorful images from space, the scientist had to create a program to turn all that data into photographs. Not only has this technology significantly improved the viewing experience of watching television, playing videos games and surfing the internet, it also made its way into the medical field. Doctors use this NASA made technology to peer into a patients circulatory system to seek out clogged arteries that could cause strokes and heart attacks.
Cell Phone Cameras- A NASA engineer named Eric Fossum invented the camera to take amazing photos in space. Using a technology that had been used in computers for years, called CMOS, (or Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductors) he was the first to adapt it to be used as a camera for outer space. He was able to integrate all the components a modern camera would need one computer chip to take dazzling images like the ones we enjoy on our phones today.
Solar Energy- Decades ago NASA was tasked with building an unmanned plane that could fly for days using only solar power. At first it seemed to be almost impossible because the plane had to be incredibly light weight and engineers didn't want to add too much weight to the aircraft. As a result, a new type of solar cell was invented made out of single-crystal silicon and very quickly made it's way into consumers hands. These new solar cells provide 50 % more power and reduce pollution and energy cost across the globe.
We have come a long way over the past 50 years, and we have NASA to thank for all the innovative technology and gadgets we have today. One thing is for sure; if we never had the urge to explore the cosmos our lives would be completely different than they are today.