While space travel today is best known for taking astronauts into the solar system, early pioneers travelled into deep space. These men and women contributed to space exploration in significant ways but led to more tragic accidents than successes. Luckily, space exploration has come a long way since those first pioneers. Today, space travel has evolved to a place where astronauts can experience weightlessness, sleep, and eat like regular people.
For thousands of years, humans have been gazing up at the stars, wondering about the mysterious origins of life. This fascination has led us to explore the skies, going where no one has gone before. We have taken advantage of the wonders of the universe and have brought us several technological wonders along the way.
For centuries, inventors have harbored the dream of space travel, yet progress has been slower than anticipated, with only 58 individuals sent into space. Despite the pace, our collective desire to send friends and family into space remains undiminished. Here are six notable innovations, encompassing scratch-resistant lenses to clear braces (clear braces treatment are all the rage now, by the way) and more, that might have been designed with space travel in mind.
- A Scratch-resistant lenses
The introduction of scratch-resistant plastic lenses was revolutionary, but it has also changed the way we wear them. While many people would wear their lenses with sunglasses, that can be dangerous, as prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays can lead to eye damage and cataracts. Sunglasses also tend to be bulky, which makes them uncomfortable to wear. But improved scratch-resistant lenses have solved those problems.
- The Firefighting equipment
Spacesuits and firefighter gear may seem worlds apart, but some of the materials astronauts use, like heat-resistant polymers, are being put to good use by firefighters. Firefighters are exposed to many hazards every day, including toxic chemicals, extreme temperatures, and violent stimuli. Being a first responder means working 24/7, often in dangerous conditions and often for repetitive injuries; firefighters are twice as likely to develop cancer as the average worker, and 15% of firefighters die on the job. Protecting firefighters from harm is job number one, but ensuring they are equipped to do their job is another key priority.
- The Solar cells
It’s been over a century since Albert Einstein first proposed using sunlight to split atoms and create energy, but humans have yet to master solar power. And that’s because creating solar cells at scale has been incredibly difficult. But thanks to significant developments from NASA and its industry partners, solar is getting cheaper and more efficient all the time.
- The Wireless headsets
The November 1959 issue of Popular Science featured a story on the “Wireless Headset,” Since then, technology has evolved and revolutionized many industries. Today, wireless headsets are used in many industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, public safety, and aviation. The wireless headset is a device that sends communication between two or more people. The headset has a microphone, a speaker, and a wireless transmitter. The microphone picks up sounds from voices and sounds from the surrounding environment, and the speaker transmits those sounds through sound waves.
- The Invisible/ Clear Aligners
Invisible braces have come a long way in recent years. Blatant wires and brackets were common in the orthodontic industry until about 10 years ago when clear braces like Invisalign became available. Invisible aligners are used for straightening crooked, gapped, and overcrowded teeth. The best part is that braces of this nature facilitate oral hygiene; they cause less pain compared to traditional orthodontic braces which are fixed; and require fewer emergency visits.
Owing to these reasons, orthodontists recommend clear aligners for the patients of new braunfels or elsewhere for fixing misaligned teeth. All thanks to an American inventor and dentist named Charles Ponziani, who invented a thermoplastic composite that hardens to a resin-like substance used in the invisible/clear aligners.
- The Camera phones
The cell phone camera in your pocket is more powerful than the cameras used by NASA astronauts! The tiny cameras sit inside your phone and record high-quality images. These cell phone cameras are equipped with advanced optical lenses and sensors, and they come with software designed to make cell phones the perfect cameras. In fact, you can use your cell phone camera to get high-quality photographs that rival those taken with expensive cameras.
Camera phones have revolutionized photography. From selfies to group shots, the compact camera phone has become one of the most essential tools in our everyday lives. In the past, cameras required too much power and weight, and they were bulky and prone to breaking. It’s thanks to new technology that camera phones have become so prolific.