People Working On NASA Projects Rack Up Every One In 1,000 Patents

Maybe you've underestimated the sheer number of people working on NASA projects and monumental scope of problems they're constantly working to solve. One in every 1,000 patents issued by the United States Patent and Trade Organization has gone to scientists or engineers working on NASA projects, and "tens of thousands of scientific studies from the agency's missions have been published in leading journals worldwide," according to NASA.

Thank For Our Memory Foam Mattresses

Astronauts face a lot of unique dilemmas that NASA is constantly working to solve. But, as it turns out, once NASA engineers churn out a cool solution to whatever otherworldly problem arises, there are often ways to incorporate the new technology into everyday life down on Earth. For example, we wouldn't have memory foam if NASA hadn't come up with it. That's right, you can thank a NASA engineer for that memory-foam mattress topper giving you comfortably deep sleeps every night. As HowStuffWorks reports, "In the early 1960s, an aeronautical engineer named Charles Yost worked on technology designed to make sure that the Apollo command module and its astronauts could be recovered safely after landing. That experience came in handy four years later, when Yost was tapped to help NASA's Ames Research Center develop airplane seating that could absorb the energy of crashes and increase passengers' chances of survival. Yost created a special type of plastic foam that had the seemingly miraculous ability to deform and absorb tremendous pressure, then return to its original shape." Ta-da! Memory foam was born.

NASA Is All Around You

So, what kind kind of familiar things did NASA come up with? Take a look at this list of just a few NASA inventions you see all the time:

  1. Water filters
  2. Cordless tools
  3. Scratch-resistant lenses
  4. Memory foam
  5. Cochlear implants
  6. Invisible braces
  7. LED
  8. Joysticks
  9. Long-distance communication
  10. Shoe insoles

Just in case anyone wants to start an argument about space program funding being a waste of money...

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Written by Curiosity Staff January 13, 2017

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