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(CBS) – Do you take excellent selfies? Sleep well on that memory foam mattress? Like swimming at your local pool? You can thank NASA.

For years, NASA has been creating technology for space that ends up enhancing our everyday lives.

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In 1990, a team at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory worked to create high quality cameras small enough to fit on a spacecraft. Now, one-third of all cameras contain this technology and allow you to get that ideal shot.


Space blankets are those metallic mylar sheets you see runners get at the end of marathons. They evolved from a lightweight insulator NASA developed to protect spacecraft and people from the harsh environments of space.


In 2015, a new spin on the space blanket technology emerged after a group of people bought a keg of beer, without a way to keep it cool.

“They actually took one of these space blankets and they wrapped it around the outside of the keg and it actually kept it cool for days,” said Jordan Larsen, a Technology Transfer Specialist at NASA.

You can now purchase the keg coolers online.

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“It’s basically just like a little koozie,” Larsen said. “You slap it on top of the keg and when it’s all done you can take it off, fold it up and put it back in your pocket.’


In the 1960s, NASA created an electrolytic silver iodizer to purify astronauts’ drinking water. This technology is now widely used to kill bacteria in recreational pools and also municipal water systems.


“One of the really great ones, that started in the Apollo program actually, is this product called Birdair,” Larsen said.

Birdair is made out of a fiberglass woven material that was developed by NASA to create flame-resistant suits. Now this technology is being used for fabric roofs at Navy Pier in Chicago, Palm Springs International Airport, and the Mercedes Benz Stadium, home of Super Bowl 53.

“This fabric is actually pretty see-through,” Larsen said. “It allows the light to go through so you can actually grow real grass on your stadium floor.”


During the 1970s, scientists at the NASA Ames Research Center were developing a way to make airplane seats safer and more comfortable.

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“They ended up coming up with a product called Temper Foam, which people are more familiar with its common name – Memory Foam – which can be found in mattresses, pillows, and in motorcycles, even amusement park rides or archery target practice,” Larsen listed. “You see it everywhere.”