Did you know that many modern-day household and work items were developed to support space exploration and the space program? While it may be an expensive feat, the benefits outweigh the costs as they have provided many progressive technologies for society. The tech ranges from items necessary for work and school to medicinal necessities.
Benefits of Space Exploration
- The satellites in space provide fast speed and high-quality connections in the more difficult-to-reach places. Locations such as rainforests and deserts did not have a proper connection to other areas of the world until satellites were developed and continue to be improved. The Starlink missions are a part of those improvements as SpaceX is working on providing a space-based internet communication system.
- Satellite communications also assist in transcontinental flights, improving global aircraft tracking. Alongside tracking, there will continue to be more accurate when it comes to air traffic control. More planes will be able to have direct routes while also lowering the amount of fuel used. These satellites are also to thank for in-flight WiFi.
Protection of Wildlife and Climate Change
- Satellites are able to monitor specific areas on a regional, territorial and national level. This is because of a geostationary orbit, which follows the Earth’s rotation, allowing satellites to continue overseeing an area without any issues. With that, we are able to have access to information on climate change impacts worldwide.
- es have also been important in ending illegal fishing, logging and wildlife trade. Satellite uplink GPS tracking allows for the monitoring of whole populations. Algorithms can detect any suspicious movements and alert local park rangers.
Forecasting Weather and Disaster Relief
- More than 99% of our accurate weather forecasts come from satellites in space. They also detect the areas most affected by natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires. This Earth observation imagery allows for disaster relief responses while alerting others of safer routes to avoid dangerous areas. It has become crucial to saving the lives of those caught in the midst of a natural disaster at a much quicker pace.
Ending Hunger and Providing Clean Water
- Satellite images help with the monitoring of reservoir water levels, specifically enabling any warning signs of shortages. These images also provide consistent data to aid in the progression of water delivery, especially for countries that share their water resources.
- Remote sensing imagery from these satellites analyzes the ecological footprint being left around us and warns of any changes that could affect agriculture and vegetation. This is especially important when it comes to famine in certain countries and their food security. By mapping out changes and how the land may look in ten to fifty years, it provides a means to shift the methods of farmers in those regions. They begin adopting better practices and conserve the land, hence more growth and more food for those in that area. Satellites guide farmers by telling them when it’s the best time to add fertilizer, water and when to harvest.
Technologies Developed by the Space Program
- Artificial Limbs – Artificial human limbs have become more realistic over time, they originate from technology designed for space vehicles such as robotic sensors and muscle systems.
- CAT and MRI Scans – NASA used digital signals to recreate images of the moon and has been the technology that allowed for CAT scans alongside MRIs to exist.
- Insulin Pump – The Goddard Space Flight Center created monitoring systems to track the vitals of astronauts in space. This tech is now being used in insulin pumps to regulate blood sugar levels.
- Cellphone Cameras – NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab invented an imaging system that only required a small amount of energy to take quality pictures from space. This is the same technology used in all of our devices today such as our phone cameras.
- Computer Mouse – Stanford researchers helped NASA develop the first mouse in order to promote more interaction with their onboard computers.
- Laptops – The Grid Compass was the first “laptop” created and used on missions in the ‘80s. It was originally used to launch satellites off of the space shuttles and now we use these devices in everyday life.
- Wireless Headphones – NASA built a hands-free communication system for astronauts to communicate with their teams who were back on Earth, this same technology is what was used to create wireless headphones.
- Home Insulation – Insulation technology was tested by NASA in preparation for the Apollo missions. They used insulation for the spacesuits and the rockets. Now, we have construction insulation used for buildings.
- Shock Absorbers – Absorbers were developed to protect sensitive equipment during rocket launches and are now being utilized to protect buildings and even bridges from damage by earthquakes.
- Air Purifiers – NASA invented the air purifier for the ISS and air purifiers are now widely used to combat bacteria, dust and other pathogens.
- Workout Machines – Workout machines were created by NASA for astronauts so that they maintain peak physical condition in preparation for space. They can experience bone loss due to zero-gravity.
- Firefighter Suits – The same material that makes up spacesuits has been valuable in providing firefighters with flame-retardant suits that also have a coolant system.
- Lifeshears – The tool used to separate a space shuttle and the boosters following a launch is the same technology used in Lifeshears. This allows people to escape from an emergency situation and for frontline workers to help those who are trapped in a car or a collapsed structure.
As you can see, we can thank the space program for some of our rapid technological developments. Many of their own tech projects have now been adapted to common items we use in daily life for personal, professional and emergency use. There are still many exciting developments coming our way that will benefit the growth of our society.