Smartphone in hand, when we make a call on another continent or connect to the Internet, we should thank the lunar missions. And it is only the most obvious example of the technological repercussions that derive from the first space companies. Microchips and the progressive miniaturization of electronics (a necessity, from the first missions to date) have made PCs possible for all and modern telephones, and investments in computing and telecommunications technologies have led to today's global network .
The common heritage of the Apollo missions. List the technologies born with space companies, in particular with the Apollo missions, and then enter our daily life would be impossible. Here are the most curious - among which (attention!) There is not the famous Velcro, because, contrary to what we often hear, it was not invented for Space: it already existed (it was patented in 1955), although the publicity he had for his use in space made him very popular.
1 - Electronics: microchips derive from the integrated circuits used for the Apollo on-board computer, and from the lunar technologies mobile phones and PCs have also evolved.
2 - Tac: the ancestor of modern computerized axial tomography systems, now indispensable in many medical investigations, was born to analyze the structure of new technological materials and highlight any production defects.We will return soon to the Moon, and this time it will not be a "hit and run": it is the cover story of Focus 317, on newsstands (see also the special subscription offer for Focus for 24 months). | Focus, Mondadori Scienza
3 - Water filters: the technology used to purify the water of the narrow Apollo cockpits is, with few modifications, at the base of the systems that today are used to purify water in different contexts, in particular in the regions of world where it is deficient or contaminated by viruses and bacteria.
4 - Thermal blankets: from the multi-layer sheets of metal derive the very light "thermal blankets" that can be used for outdoor excursions and that are often used in many films and, in reality, in emergencies - during disasters natural or during first aid operations to migrants recovered at sea.
5 - Stacked tools: from the beginning of the Space Age, for the astronauts were re-invented tools (for example the drill) powered by batteries: today they are widely in use and there is every kind, but a few decades ago they were expensive inventions.
6 - Freeze-dried food: although it may not excite, in some situations, even in common life, freeze-dried products are imposed by necessity or practicality. It is with the Apollo missions that the industry has invested and developed the techniques to freeze-dry foods, dehydrating them at low temperature, preserving their nutritional value and (partly) the taste.
7 - The boots: from the real moon boots (the lunar boots) of the astronauts have evolved the insulating mountain boots to walk on the snow.
8 - The astronauts' suits: the super-expensive (up to 2 million euros each) and super-technological (130-150 kg of protections, sensors and various hi-tech) have given rise to the immense family of current fireproof suits, thermoregulated, protection: from firefighters to Formula 1 drivers, here is another "gift" that comes directly from the dawn of the Space Age. From the fabric of those pprime suits are also derived the resistant and cheap materials now used for tensile structures (swimming pools and other indoor sports) and for covering the stadiums.