When most people think NASA technology, they probably think rockets, Tang and upside down pens.
Since its creation in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been a driving force in technological worldwide. At home, at work, on the road and in the sky, NASA has made life better through technology.
Without the space program's mission to the sky, we would never have seen things like scratch-resistant lenses, cellphones, efficient solar panels or the ubiquitous Brita filters. And without NASA's space-faring rockets, we'd have nothing like the satellite network that brings Internet, TV, cellphone communications and even clear braces.
Oh, and without GPS satellites, we'd still be using maps. Remember maps?
Beyond those satellites, rockets and space probes, NASA helped create a slew of gadgets and gizmos that we use every day. You may just be surprised at what the space program brought back to Earth.
Do you smell something?
No. 5: Smoke detector
Ever left dinner in the oven too long -- or worse -- had a real fire emergency?
Next time you have to climb up a ladder to change a battery on your fire alarm, you can thank NASA.
Without NASA, the family dog might be the only fire alarm in most houses. Engineers at the space body created the first adjustable smoke detectors made with radioactive materials. The first such smoke detectors were necessary for the Skylab orbiting space station. Astronauts had to know immediately if hazardous chemicals or smoke were floating around inside the vehicle.
Soon after the 1973 launch of Skylab, the cheap, adjustable smoke detectors hit stores. Nowadays, one would be pressed to find a house without several such fire alarms. The number of lives and the amount of property saved by the invention is incalculable.
Those smoke detectors were probably going crazy as Skylab burned up in Earth's atmosphere in 1979.
Are you feeling groovy?
No. 4: Safety groove
The safety groove; it sounds like a bad dance from the 1970s, but the NASA invention is saving thousands of lives without most people knowing.
NASA scientists at the Langley Research Center started experimenting with digging grooves into the tarmac. They found out that those grooves diverted water off wet runways, making it much safer to land a plane -- or space shuttle -- when Mother Nature doesn't cooperate.
After the invention in the 1960s, safety grooving caught on in a big way. Highway engineers and airports around the world took note of the simple but incredibly effective solution to an everyday problem. Any driver will recognize the safety grooves at the edge of a road, at intersections and plenty of other wet spots on the road.
NASA credits the invention with reducing highway accidents by 85 percent.
Safety grooving has even made its way to sidewalks and pool patios. So next time your slip stops at poolside, do a little groove for the safety groove.
Is it time for a nap yet?
No. 3: Memory foam
How did you sleep last night? Good? Well, if you have a memory foam mattress, you have NASA scientists to thank for your chipper mood in the morning.