There is continued speculation regarding funding of the US Space Program and NASA research in general. Planning future explorations in space is expensive, but many counter by arguing that research needed to continue programs like NASA has benefited people in numerous ways. One of the keenest arguments for continuing research is to list the number of ways in which it has affected daily life. We owe many modern inventions we take for granted to NASA.
Some NASA research has led to distinct improvements in medicine. Among these, we owe the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology, which allows for a much clearer picture of certain body systems. Laser technology developed by NASA has been used to create laser eye surgery. Neuromuscular stimulation is used to help people with spinal injuries, and the ocular screening system developed by the US space program has made eye examinations a much simpler process. Many prosthetics for people who have lost limbs owe part of their design to materials invented or developed by NASA.
Research has also led to one of the most important devices all people should have in their homes: smoke detectors. Smoke detectors save lives regularly, reducing injury and warning people so they can get out of homes or other structures when a fire is first detected.
We owe many of our ergonomically designed desks, chairs and workstations to NASA research. Similarly, if you enjoy watching TV streamed in from your satellite dish you should thank space research programs. Taking a jog with good running shoes is the work of research in space, and when you finish that jog with a drink of freshly purified water, you can thank NASA too, since technology they developed led to today’s most popular water filters for home use.
Other things developed that may affect daily life include the following:
- the development of memory foam, now widely used in mattresses;
- the creation of lights that mimic the sun to help people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder;
- materials used in clothing that are fire-resistant or are better at keeping in heat;
- invisible braces, which are an offshoot of special ceramics used to make spacecraft stronger
While explorations in space by NASA and other space programs may seem to be a waste of money to some, it can be argued that the research required to create continued advances is not a waste to most people. Products that were developed based on research by NASA are used by many people on a regular and sometimes daily basis.