6. Laser eye surgery
Technology used to track astronauts’ eyes in space, originally intended to assess how a human’s frame of reference is affected by weightlessness, has become essential for use during laser eye surgery. The device tracks a patient’s eye position while the surgeon operates.
7. Structural shock absorbers
Shock absorbers designed to protect equipment during space shuttle launches are now used to protect bridges and buildings in areas prone to earthquakes.
8. Solar cells
Out of a need to increase the efficiency of the energy systems aboard the International Space Station, NASA has helped invent and improve photovoltaic cells, sharing the advancements with other companies to accelerate the technology.
9. Water filtration
In the 1970s, NASA developed filtration systems that utilized iodine and cartridge filters to ensure that astronauts had access to safe, tasteless water. This filtering technology is now used around the world to purify water in at-risk communities.
10. Better tires
After the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company invented the material used in NASA’s Viking Lander parachute shrouds, the company began using it in its everyday radial tires. The material is stronger than steel and adds thousands of miles of life to the tires.