NASA is perhaps the pinnacle of technological advancement in the world. We have many technologies around us that we use everyday without realising that it was first thought of by boffins at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. These technologies have benefited the human race in many ways. The cordless phone that you use, the computer mouse, the golf stick, dried food, and healthcare machines like MRI and CAT scan are all thanks to NASA. And today, as Cassini-Huygens dives between Saturn and its rings to begin its final descent, here's a tribute to NASA inventions that changed the automotive industry. (Image: Auto Motorund Sport)
GPS: The navigation system that we take so granted on our phones and in our cars, it was originally developed by the United States government for the Air Force by launching satellites via the space program. It was a spacecraft that made it possible for people to stop asking for directions. (Image: Autointhebox)
Carbon fibre: Originally used in rocket applications, carbon fibre went on to become extremely popular in the automotive industry because it brought strength to the table without a lot of weight. Automakers can drastically improve performance on their cars as carbon fibre helps in weight reduction, while providing strength.
Tweel: NASA needed a tyre that could survive extreme surfaces without a puncture or rip, hence the organisation got in touch with Michelin and developed on the 'Tweel' for use in its Lunar Rover Project. The Tweel, as the name suggests, is a tyre and a wheel – there is no need for air. The Tweel is marketed by Michelin for industrial and agricultural applications and has begun testing in the automotive world.
Robotic arms: No, your car does not have these, but the plant that manufactures them does. Astronauts used the Canadarm (a Canadian-built space arm) for performing tasks in outer space. The tech behind Canadarm made its way into the automobile industry, assisting on production lines, enabling manufacturing robots to handle objects of varying delicacy. (Image: scmp)
Flame retardant fabric: Race drivers are now a lot safer owing invention of flame resistant fabric by NASA. After three astronauts were lost to cabin fire during training for Apollo I, NASA called for extensive research in development of flame-retardant tech. Today, firefighting gear and racing suites are made out of this fabric. (Image: RacingDirect)
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