2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and to celebrate NASA is pulling out all the stops and tools.
Ever wondered how space exploration and research impact your daily life?
The NASA Home And City website features 130 spinoff technologies in a virtual space, allowing users to tour buildings and rooms in order to discover common items that NASA either inspired or helped improve.
When visiting the NASA Home and City webpage, the first option you get is to choose between “Explore City” and “Explore Home.” By selecting an option, you get to explore a virtual world with blue dots that draw you in and showcase the NASA spinoff and dual-purpose technologies. Ready to explore a few of the more surprising innovations featured on NASA Home & City?
– Water filtration systems
Water is a scarce resource away from Earth. Originally designed to purify water for the Apollo astronauts, NASA’s silver ion technology purifies and softens water while inhibiting bacteria growth in filtering units. Today, manufacturers use this combined technology to create home-use water filtering systems that not only purify and soften, but also remove objectionable tastes and odors.
– Durable Wind Turbines
These wind turbines were designed with Mars in mind. Solar panels will likely provide the primary source of power for future crewed Mars missions, but NASA also investigated the use of wind turbines for times when the Sun isn’t shining. Designed for Mars and tested in Antarctica, durable wind turbines can be found generating power all over the globe.
– NASA spacesuits and Firefighter gear
NASA made significant improvements to an incredibly fire-resistant polymer fabric for use in spacesuits and spacecraft, and that same material is now commonly found in firefighters’ protective gear, as well as in various civilian and military applications. The thermoplastic material protects people working in the most extreme environments or in situations where high-strength and wear resistance are required
– Your Selfies
The images NASA captures of distant galaxies or newly discovered stars are often breathtaking – and scientifically groundbreaking. The technology used to capture these images has evolved greatly over the years. In the 1990s a NASA engineer built a new kind of image sensor. It’s small, requires very low power, and is highly efficient – excellent for space missions as well as digital and cell phone cameras on Earth.
– Space Tech Helps You Out on the Slopes
Skiers and snowboarders face extremely bright sunlight, especially when reflected off the white snow. That can make it hard to see, and not just because of glare. The blue light waves in sunlight makes it more difficult to discern colors at the edge of the visible light spectrum, like reds. A NASA-designed filter used in snow goggles helps block up to 95% of blue light, making it easier for people on the slopes to see terrain clearly.
NASA’s collaboration with commercial companies has helped bring space technology back to Earth for over 50 years. Celebrate Earth Day this year by exploring more NASA spinoff technologies in your home and city here.
Take the time to celebrate and explore AWE’s interviews and features on women breaking barriers through their work for NASA. Explore our Profiles on NASA Astronauts Jessica Watkins or Jessica Meir, and read our interview with Molly Harwood, an Industrial Designer at NASA.