Space-inspired Innovations: The NASA Inventions Quiz

By: Laurie L. Dove

Space-inspired Innovations: The NASA Inventions Quiz
Image: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

About This Quiz

NASA technology has been inspiring everyday consumer products for decades. Take our quiz to see how much you know about space-inspired technology.
What does NASA stand for?
National Administration of Space and Aeronautics
National Aviation and Space Alliance
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
The acronym NASA stands for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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When was NASA founded?
1958
The U.S. government founded NASA in 1958. The government agency is tasked with advancing science and technology related to aviation and space.
1960
1962

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True or false: NASA invented Tang, a powdered orange drink mix for astronauts to consume during space flights.
true
false
General Foods invented Tang in 1957, one year before NASA was founded. Tang drink mix was used by John Glenn aboard Friendship 7 and on later Gemini missions.

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Which product now found in airplanes, cars and amusement park rides did NASA scientists invent in the 1970s?
temper plastic
temper foam
In the 1970s, NASA scientists Charles Yost and Chuck Kubokawa invented temper foam for cushioning and crash protection in spacecraft. Temper foam was released to the public domain in the early 1980s and is now used in a variety of products.
temper glass

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Temper foam can return to its original shape after what percentage of compression?
70 percent
80 percent
90 percent
Temper foam can return to its original shape after 90 percent compression.

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Which NASA office oversees the Technology Transfer program?
Office of the Chief Technologist
The NASA Office of the Chief Technologist oversees the Technology Transfer program, which provides NASA-developed technologies to outside entities.
Office of Technology Release
Office of Technology Sharing

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Which NASA publication features successful Technology Transfer projects?
Takeoff
Blast Off
Spinoff
Spinoff was first published in 1976.

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Which household product was the result of a NASA-sponsored project for the Apollo program?
restroom hand dryers
portable cordless vacuums
Portable cordless vacuums were the direct result of a software program developed by Black & Decker for the Apollo program. The software was developed to maximize the efficiency of a cordless drill used to collect core samples from the surface of the moon.
zero gravity ink pens

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NASA developed food freeze-drying technology for which space mission program?
Apollo
The Apollo program ended in 1972.
Mercury
Gemini

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True or false: A NASA contract with Marietta Laboratories led to nutritional supplements in baby formula.
true
NASA contracted with Marietta Laboratories on a space food project that did not pan out. However, a byproduct of the project was a new technology to make nutritional supplements for infant formula.
false

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PRP is a commercially available product that uses NASA-developed technology to remove petroleum pollutants from water. What does PRP stand for?
Petroleum Recycling Pellets
Petroleum Remediation Product
Petroleum Remediation Product uses microencapsulating technology to remove petroleum pollutants from water. The PRPs are tiny hollow balls of beeswax that absorb petroleum while floating on the surface of a body of water.
Petroleum Reclamation Process

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Which NASA-inspired sports equipment helped win a majority of medals at the 2008 Olympics before being banned from competition?
aerodynamic cycling helmets
lightweight running shoes
ribbed swimsuits
Ribbed swimsuits designed by Speedo used NASA technology that helped swimmers wearing the suits at the 2008 Beijing Olympics win 98 percent of all available swimming medals. A short time after the Beijing Olympics, the suits were banned from competition.

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Which consumer product is made from a NASA-invented translucent ceramic material used in missile tracking devices?
automotive paint
invisible braces
The translucent ceramic material co-developed by NASA and a company called Ceradyne is used to track heat-seeking missiles. The material is also used to make invisible braces.
contact lenses

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Why did NASA originally use light-emitting diode (LED) chips?
growing plants
LED chips, developed by NASA, were originally used to grow plants in space. The LED chips are now used in portable first aid devices carried by frontline military personnel and other first responders.
measuring distances
testing astronaut reflexes

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What feature of eyeglasses is the result of a NASA invention?
lighter lenses
stronger frames
scratch-resistant coating
NASA worked with the Foster Grant company to develop a scratch-resistant coating to protect sensitive equipment like astronaut helmet visors. The coating was later made available for use on eyeglasses.

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Why did NASA invent treadmill exercise machines for use in space?
to keep astronauts warm
to decrease muscle loss
NASA invented treadmill exercise machines to decrease muscle and bone degeneration of astronauts while in zero gravity.
to power scientific equipment

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What is the name of the deicing product collaboratively developed by NASA and Kelly Aerospace?
Thermawing
Thermawing is a technology used on aircraft for ice hazard prevention.
Wing Heater
Heating Edge

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Which medical implants were invented in the 1970s by the NASA engineer Adam Kissiah Jr.?
corneal implants
retinal implants
cochlear implants
Cochlear implants were invented in the 1970s by Adam Kissiah Jr., a NASA engineer who worked on the space shuttle program.

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What lifesaving process did NASA and Thiokol Propulsion develop by using surplus rocket fuel?
extinguishing chemical fires
land mine removal
NASA and Thiokol Propulsion invented a flare that uses surplus rocket fuel to destroy land mines.
converting rocket fuel into heating oil

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True or false: The hook and loop fastener Velcro was invented by NASA.
true
false
A Swiss engineer named George de Mestral invented Velcro in the late 1940s, more than a decade before NASA existed.

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Which existing device did NASA redesign and perfect in the 1970s for use on the first U.S. space station, Skylab?
smoke detector
NASA made a smoke detector with adjustable sensitivity that Honeywell later made commercially available.
fire extinguisher
carbon dioxide filter

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The use of NASA space robotics technology has made advancements to which consumer equipment possible?
artificial limbs
Ongoing funding and space robotics technology from NASA has led to advancements in artificial limbs for both animals and humans.
scuba diving gear
firefighting equipment

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The development of single-crystal silicon solar cells was the result of which NASA program?
Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment
Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology
The NASA Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology program led to the development of single-crystal silicon solar cells. The advanced solar cells are now commercially available and provide up to 50 percent more power than traditional solar cells.
Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite

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Which company worked with the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab to invent the infrared ear thermometer?
Baxter
Medtronic
Diatek
Diatek put the thermometer on the market in 1991.

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NASA researchers working on the Mars Viking spacecraft made the treatment of which disease more manageable?
rheumatoid arthritis
Crohn's disease
diabetes mellitus
NASA researchers working on the Mars Viking spacecraft invented the insulin pump. The device monitors blood sugar levels and releases insulin automatically when needed for people with diabetes.

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Which computerized process now used in the medical field was invented by NASA for the Apollo lunar landing program?
digital image processing
NASA invented digital image processing for the enhancement of lunar surface photography during the Apollo program. The process was then used to enhance existing computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging technology.
computerized tomography
magnetic resonance imaging

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How many highway accidents are prevented as a result of safety grooving, which was invented by NASA?
65 percent
75 percent
85 percent
According to NASA, the safety grooving on U.S. highways has reduced accidents by 85 percent. The safety grooving was originally invented by NASA to improve the safety of wet runways.

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A lightweight breathing system for firefighters was designed by NASA using an aluminum composite, but what equipment was the composite originally used on?
rocket casings
An aluminum composite originally engineered for rocket casings was used in a NASA-developed lightweight breathing system for firefighters.
space shuttle doors
lunar rover

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True or false: NASA invented Teflon, which is used in heat shields and space suits.
true
false
The Teflon used by NASA in heat shields and space suits was invented accidentally two decades before the founding of NASA by DuPont chemist Roy J. Plunkett in 1938.

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A collaboration between NASA, leading cardiac surgeons and MicroMed Technology Inc. resulted in the creation of a lifesaving device called VAD, which stands for what?
variable ambulatory defibrillator
ventricular assist device
The MicroMed DeBakey ventricular assist device, or VAD, was developed with the help of NASA. The device keeps cardiac patients alive by pumping blood through the body until a heart transplant can be performed.
valve activated device

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You Got:
/30
ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

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