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Early Space Travel & common items we use today

Today’s Throwback Tech Thursday is not just important for tech, but for the whole world. It was a day when exploration was taken to a whole new level. The famous phrases, which will never be forgotten, “The Eagle has landed” and “That’s one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind” were born. Yes, July 20th, 1969, was the day that man first landed on the moon. This spelled a new dawn for space travel.

But how is the moon landing important for the world of tech? Well, more than 6,300 new technologies were pioneered by NASA during the bid to get there. Many other inventions were improved and altered for use within space travel and exploration. Some of these items have changed how we look at things like medicine, computers, food, beds, and even gaming.
Here are 5 items that we commonly use today – with thanks to the moon landings and space travel.

Space Travel and CAT Scans

While NASA can’t take all the credit for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), they certainly helped the advances of this technology, resulting in the CAT scans we see in hospitals today. This technology was used to enhance pictures of the Moon.

Satellite TV

While we can’t blame space exploration for some of the atrocious shows that we see on TV, we can credit it for satellites. It’s said that artificial satellites are what started the space race. In July 1955, President Eisenhower announced that they would launch an artificial satellite into space during 1957/58. A week later, the Soviet Union approved the creation of their first satellite, Object D. It would measure the density of the atmosphere among other things. Unfortunately, it appears that the design of Object D was too ambitious to be launched before the USA’s satellite. The USSR set up a new goal, to launch a simpler satellite by April/May 1957.  Eventually, the USSR’s Sputnik 1 was launched on October 4 1957. It was the first artificial Earth satellite.

Memory foam

As you lie in bed tonight on your memory foam mattress, remember that you have NASA and space exploration to thank for your comfort. Memory foam was created under contract for NASA in the 70’s. It was created to “improve seat cushioning and crash protection for airline pilots and passengers”. As a result, I will sleep easy tonight!

The joystick

So, would gaming be different without space travel? Probably. After all, without space travel, we might not have the joystick.  Astronauts used the joystick to practice landing and steering Space Shuttles. It was invented by C.B. Mirick at the United States Naval Research Laboratory in 1926. NASA brought it on leaps and bounds, and joysticks were used to control devices on the Apollo missions. Because of the joystick advances made for space travel, other forms of transport have also benefitted. 

Smoke Detector

Nope, NASA did not invent the smoke detector. However, they did alter how it works. They added technology that changes the sensitivity of the detector – which contributes to why the smoke alarm doesn’t go off in your kitchen every time you cook. Honeywell made the device commercially available.

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