NASA Inventions

From medical breakthroughs to innovations in golf ball design, many of the inventions developed by NASA for use in space exploration have touched our lives on Earth. In this section, learn about the surprisingly wide variety of NASA inventions.


The HiDyRS-X camera is a slow-motion, high-definition, dynamic range powerhouse built specifically for rocket science.

NASA recycles too. The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) was originally launched to search for infrared radiation coming from distant objects like asteroids. Now it's been repurposed to look for near-Earth objects. And not a minute too soon.

Until a certain female NASA mission specialist unwittingly propelled adult diapers into the media spotlight, we never gave this question much thought. How else has the space agency changed the business of elimination?

Aside from perhaps Olympic swimmers Michael Phelps or Dara Torres, most of us humans aren't designed for swimming, but the U.S. space agency has tried to change that reality more than once. How?

The golf industry is always trying out new designs to make your shot better -- but how did NASA help improve the golf ball?

Want to see some cool NASA technology? Just look up. No, you don't need a telescope, but you might want to use a ladder. Not only has the space agency sent Americans to the moon, but it helped put some useful gear into your attic, as well.

Many commercial products based on NASA research are a part of our everyday lives. Some things, however, are more unusual than others. Check out our list of five strange items developed from NASA technology.

NASA has worked with some of the most high-tech substances in modern history, including plastic, polymers and resins. But the organization has worked with plants, too -- all for better air and water quality.

The idea of virtual reality has been around for a long time, but it wasn't always linked to computers and fancy gear. In fact, virtual reality technology got its start in film. Who created the first virtual reality experience?

Engineers and scientists at NASA have come up with dozens of new technologies, inventions and processes for use on Earth. One of them was baby food. So, how did these space-savvy men and women change the formula for formula?

NASA space helmets are nifty devices that allow astronauts to operate in the hostile environment of space, but did you know that the technology behind them has also directly benefitted eyeballs here on Earth? Learn more about NASA and optics.

The harsh environment of space is incredibly taxing on the human body, so NASA has always been interested in exercise science and human physiology. How has NASA's research affected the way athletes train here on Earth?

When you think of NASA, you most likely think of rocket ships, space stations and astronauts. Cleaning up a bowl of spilled Cheerios probably doesn't enter your mind. But the government giant behind the trips to the moon is partially responsible for a popular cleaning tool.

We have NASA to thank for lots of technological innovations, from memory foam to polarized sunglasses. But what about TV technology? Find out how NASA influenced the way we view television.

We have NASA to thank for all sorts of amazing technological innovations, but sometimes, NASA's research is applied in surprising ways. Read on to discover how one company is taking ordinary skydiving -- and adventure sports -- to a whole new level.

When you hear about NASA, you likely think about space. But NASA has touched nearly every sector of science, from sensors that detect bioterrorism and longer-lasting car tires to robotic surgery and sports gear. So what has NASA done for snow skiing?

Like most left brain versus right brain scenarios, the science-driven ventures of NASA space exploration and the art world might seem to be at odds, but that's actually not the case. How have the two come together over the years?

You probably think of NASA as that government agency that feeds us a regular diet of mind-blowing pictures of distant nebulae. But did you know that NASA's technology also helps firefighters protect your house and your family's lives every day?

Solar energy is an up-and-coming field, but did you know that it owes much of its growth to NASA? Discover how NASA's research and development of solar power for space has trickled down to the Earthly realm.

While most folks associate NASA with space exploration, the largest portion of their budget goes to Earth sciences, which includes programs to study earthquakes, hurricanes and other disasters. What cutting-edge programs do they have in store?

If you thought that all NASA did was send shuttles into space, prepare to think again. Whether in the doctor's office, hospital or home medicine cabinet, you probably don’t go a day without bumping into some NASA technology.

The insulin pump, cordless vac, and a heart assist device are just a few of the high-tech products invented or improved thanks to NASA technology. The agency's research has been used in hundreds of products that are household names. How does this happen?

Since 1958, NASA has had to invent everything it needed to make space missions possible. These five amazing inventions, developed by NASA for use in space, have found some amazing Earth-bound applications.

You might be familiar with space blankets -- those lightweight blankets worn by marathon runners or spectators in a football stadium. The technology was invented by NASA and is just one spinoff in the area of insulation. What are some others?

NASA's technological innovations haven't just gotten us to the moon and beyond -- some have also helped make life a little greener here on Earth. What are five surprisingly grounded technologies spearheaded by NASA?