Space Exploration in Our Everyday
For the anniversary of the monumental moon landing this month, Tempur reveals how by-products of astronautics and aerospace research has impacted our day-to-day lives.
Space travel is seriously hotting up this year and with the anniversary of the moon landing this Saturday, 20th of July, premium mattress brand, Tempur, explores how NASA technologies and inventions have crept into our everyday lives.
From running shoes and artificial limbs, to camera phones and cordless vacuum cleaners, several space travel spin-offs benefit us every day down here on earth but are often taken for granted.
One transformative innovation enjoyed by millions every single night, is the pressure-absorbing material used in Tempur mattresses and other sleep products. Originally developed by NASA scientists in the 1970s to support and cushion astronauts during lift-off, this brainchild of NASA is designed to drastically improve the sleep experience, responding to body temperature, shape and weight, and relieving pressure points for a soothing night’s sleep.
“We can give thanks to NASA for so many everyday commercial products, yet the origin of the vast majority of these is barely known” says Tobin James, Tempur UK Managing Director. “Tempur material is one of the original offshoots of space-related research and innovation and as the only mattress product recognised by NASA and certified by the Space Foundation, it’s helping people all over the world enjoy a quality night’s sleep.”
Whilst Tempur’s NASA heritage might be relatively well-known, there will likely be a number of surprises in the following list of 14 intergalactic-inspired items…
- Scratch-Resistant Lenses
The patented design was first developed through the creation of diamond-hard abrasion-resistant coating for astronaut space helmet visors and other surfaces of aerospace systems, by the Lewis Research Centre. Scratch-resistant lenses were a by-product of the project and, lasting ten times longer than regular plastic lenses and surpassing even glass on durability, today, the vast majority of sunglasses, optical and safety glasses incorporate scratch-resistant plastic lenses.
- Artificial Limbs
NASA’s research into shock absorbing materials paired with robotic and extravehicular activities has been modified to create functional solutions for animal and human prostheses. The ground-breaking innovation has improved millions of lives around the world.
- Water Purifying Technology
With the aim of sustaining astronauts living on the International Space Station, this system transforms wastewater – from respiration, sweat and urine – into safe, drinkable liquid, by filtering it through an electrolytic silver iodizer to purify the water by killing the bacteria. The technology has transformed lives in underdeveloped regions, providing the vital resource of clean, safe, affordable drinking water.
- Invisible Braces
Ceradyne and NASA’s Advanced Ceramics Research programme created a transparent material to protect radar equipment aiming to locate heat seeking missiles. In 1986 the Unitek Corporation contacted NASA asking for transparent dental material, leading to the development of invisible braces.
- Infrared Ear Thermometer
The collaboration between NASA and the Diatek Corporation produced the infrared aural thermometer, incorporating NASA’s infrared technology used to capture the temperature of stars. The device determines the radiation emitted by the patient’s ear using infrared energy. Avoiding contact with delicate muscles in the ear, whilst enabling newborn patients to have their temperature measured, the infrared thermometer enables an accurate reading in less than two seconds.
- Foil Blankets
This lifesaving equipment can be used for retaining heat in Earth’s extreme temperatures; importantly, at a low cost. The product originally evolved from a lightweight insulator developed by NASA to project spacecraft and people going into space. It is now widely used in emergency relief situations and provided to long-distance runners following a race to avoid big fluctuations in body temperature.
- Cordless Vacuum Cleaners
The Apollo space missions required a portable drill capable of extracting samples from below the lunar surface. A computer program was developed to maximise the efficiency of the drill, leading to the manufacture of a miniature cordless vacuum cleaner, which became known widely as the ‘DustBuster’.
- Home Insulation
NASA crafted this effective lining with the aim of reducing the impact of extreme temperatures in outer space. The aluminised polyester, named ‘Radiant Barrier’, is the technology used in most home insulations.
- Baby Formula
The high nutritional ingredients found in infant formulas were devised by NASA as a result of testing if algae can be used as a recycling agent. A patented algae-based vegetable oil was founded by NASA scientists with the fatty acids being linked to substantial infant mental and visual development. Hence the development of baby formula.
- Tempur Mattresses
In the early 1970s, NASA developed a pressure-absorbing material for space suits to support astronauts during lift-off. Scientists built on NASA’s creation and perfected Tempur material for use in mattresses. Now available in 96 countries, the proprietary pressure absorbing material – the formula of which remains a secret even today – is transforming the sleep experience worldwide.
Leisure and Entertainment
- Athletic Shoes
The concept for the multi-million-dollar shoe line, ‘Nike Air’, was down to a pitch from a NASA engineer in the 1980s. The product utilised shock-absorbent suit construction technology developed by NASA, which led to the manufacture of the iconic Nike design and went on to become a common feature in the bottom of running shoes.
- Speedo Racer Swimsuits
The notorious Speedo LZR Racer Swimsuits were designed with the help of NASA following wind-tunnel testing as an ultra-streamlined, low friction swimwear item. The innovative design significantly reduced drag and friction, receiving worldwide fame due to breaking 23 world records at the 2008 Olympics Games.
- Wireless Headsets
As a pioneer in advancing communication technology, NASA constructed wireless headsets, allowing astronauts to correspond wirelessly in space. The development has led to an extensive range of commercial wireless headsets accessible today for users to communicate and listen to music wirelessly.
- Camera Phones
A third of all camera phones contain scientific-quality that was produced by NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the 1990s. The team worked to create a camera small enough to fit on a spacecraft and in turn, the camera was able to fit into the phones we use today.
For more information on Tempur, visit www.tempur.co.uk
Notes to editors:
- TEMPUR UK Managing Director, Tobin James, is available for interview or comment
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TEMPUR researches, develops, engineers, manufactures and distributes mattresses, pillows and other sleep products to improve the sleep experience worldwide.
TEMPUR mattresses and pillows are made from a formulation of the brand’s proprietary pressure absorbing TEMPUR material, originally developed by NASA scientists in the 1970s to support and cushion astronauts during lift-off.
TEMPUR mattresses offer maximum quality, comfort, support, durability, value for money and aid a restorative night’s sleep.
TEMPUR is the no.1 mattress brand in Europe for customer satisfaction, with 9 out of 10 customers claiming they would buy Tempur again.
TEMPUR products can be purchased direct via the TEMPUR UK website, from any of eleven TEMPUR brand stores and outlets, or from leading retailers including Dreams, John Lewis, Bensons for Beds, Furniture Village and Land of Beds.
Trusted and promoted by medical practitioners around the world, TEMPUR is the only mattress product recognised by NASA and certified by the Space Foundation. TEMPUR’s Contour mattress is Good Housekeeping Institute Approved.
TEMPUR is a subsidiary of TEMPUR Sealy International Inc.
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