METL airless tires adopt aerospace technology. (Photo: Interesting Engineering)
JAKARTA – Since the era of extraterrestrial exploration began, there has been a long debate about the importance of this mission considering that fantastic funds of up to billions of dollars have been spent. On the other hand, there are still many problems on Earth that have not been solved.
Starting from rubbish, deforestation, climate change, global warming to the latest emergence of new epidemics that are attacking all over the world. Not to mention the problems of war and struggle for natural resources.
But behind all that, there are a number of important things that sometimes escape the debate. Namely, space technology has drastically changed the way humans live life on Earth. The following are several space technologies that have been used in everyday life on Earth, reported by Interesting Engineering, Wednesday (29/11/2023).
Extraterrestrial technology used in everyday life
1. Airless tires
Startup The SMART Tire Company recently signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA to create airless tires. It is based on NASA’s rover wheel technology, shape memory alloy. This technology can end the problem of waste rubber and nails.
In America alone, approximately 246 million waste rubber tires are generated each year and the majority of car accidents are caused by spikes. METL airless tires manufactured by SMART Tire will remain sturdy even if they have holes and will drastically reduce rubber waste. All of this is possible thanks to NASA technology.
2. Fire shield to fight forest fires
Last year, NASA’s LOFTID heat shield technology was launched into orbit via an Atlas V rocket. This technology is designed to help space missions descend safely into the Martian atmosphere.
The good news is that this technology is also beneficial for humanity on Earth. NASA engineers have adapted this technology to build a heat shield that will help in fighting forest fires.
3. Earth monitoring satellites and GPS
The smartphone era has taken over the Earth, characterized by humanity’s absolute dependence on these devices. Like it or not, smartphone operations are highly dependent on infrastructure in space.
GPS technology, for example, is connected to all smartphones and it has its roots in the first satellite missions in history. GPS dates back to the Sputnik era when scientists tracked satellites by shifts in their radio signals, known as the Doppler Effect. This technology is the basic idea for GPS. Weather monitoring and climate science also relies heavily on observation satellites orbiting the Earth today. Weather forecasts are also becoming more accurate thanks to satellite technology.
4. Zero emission vehicles
The world’s largest zero-emissions haul truck, the nuGen, was released last year. The company developing the nuGen fuel cell, First Mode, was founded by former NASA engineers who worked on the Mars Curiosity rover program. In an interview with Interesting Engineering, First Mode founder and CEO, Chris Voorhees, stated that he wants to decarbonize directly from the source.
5. Mattress for better sleep
Apart from saving lives, space technology also helps people on Earth sleep soundly. NASA created special foam to keep astronauts comfortable during flights.
Another example comes from Mark Aramli, founder of the company Bedjet LLC. He applied knowledge from working at NASA to create a mattress that provides maximum comfort, even when one person wants it warmer and the other wants it cooler. “I thought, how can I possibly help keep astronauts comfortable in the most inhospitable environment in the universe, and here I am feeling uncomfortable in my own bed?” Aramli said in a NASA blog post.
6. Micronuclear reactors
Radiant Nuclear, a company founded by former SpaceX engineers, developed a nuclear microreactor that is said to be the world’s first zero-emission portable power source.
While at SpaceX, Doug Bernauer was tasked with developing a micronuclear reactor to help supply emergency habitats for future Mars missions. He soon realized this technology could be applied on Earth to provide electricity in remote areas.
7. Disaster response robot
Dr. Alice Agogino was conducting research on skeletonized spherical robots that could walk on the surface of the Moon and Mars for NASA when she realized this technology could be applied to disaster response on Earth.