Nutritional SupplementsIn the 1980s, scientists from NASA and Martin Marietta tested strains of microalgae to determine their use as a food supply, oxygen source, \n\nand catalyst for waste disposal on long space missions. They discovered that the microalgae contained properties that astronauts and \n\nearth-dwellers alike could use as a nutritional supplement. This discovery fueled a spinoff from Martin Marietta, Martek Biosciences, whose \n\ncontinued research on microalgae led to the development of two nutritional supplements\u2014life'sDHA and life'sARA. These omega-3 fatty \n\nacids are known to improve brain function and prevent cardiovascular disease. Many baby formulas and dairy products are fortified with \n\nthem.\n\n\nAerogel InsulationAerogel, an extremely lightweight substance known for its insulation properties, was invented 80 years ago, but its commercial applications \n\nwere limited because it was expensive to manufacture and extremely fragile. Nevertheless, NASA was interested in the material for space shuttle \n\nlaunch applications. The agency partnered with manufacturer Aspen Aerogels to develop a process that cut production time and cost and yielded a \n\nflexible, easy-to-handle aerogel. NASA uses it on the space shuttle and the fuel cell systems on the launch pad. It also used a block of aerogel to \n\ngather comet particles and inter-stellar dust from space. On earth, aerogel is in widespread use as an industrial insulator. It's also found in outwear, \n\nsuch as this Salomon boot and Burton parka. \n\n\nGolf ClubsNASA has developed many high-performance materials that have subsequently been used in the manufacture of golf clubs. One such material, \n\nZeemet, was originally designed for the International Space Station. Zeemet's super-elastic properties and its ability to restrain structural vibrations \n\n(known as high-damping attributes) make it a good fit for golf clubs. The Nicklaus Golf Company created a line of sticks using Zeemet inserts, \n\nwhich put more spin on the ball and give the golfer more control. \n\n\nMemory Foam PillowsTemper foam was originally developed in 1966 to meet NASA's need for seat cushions that would protect astronauts from aircraft vibrations, \n\noffer improved crash protection and be more comfortable on long flights. In the 1970s and '80s, the Dallas Cowboys' helmets were padded with \n\nmemory foam. Today, many people catch their ZZZs on memory foam or temper foam mattresses and pillows.\n\n\nSwimsuitsAfter the 2004 Olympics, Speedo asked NASA for help designing a faster, sleeker swimsuit. The swimwear maker tapped NASA for its \n\nunderstanding of fluid dynamics and knowledge of how to combat drag\u2014two concepts that are as critical to competitive swimming as they \n\nare to efficient space flight. NASA helped Speedo perform surface drag tests on materials for its space-age wetsuit. The LZR Racer swimsuit \n\nmade a big splash in 2008, when Olympic swimmers who sported them (including Michael Phelps pictured here) broke all sorts of world records. \n\nThe swimsuit is so effective that it (and other high-tech suits) are banned from competition beginning in 2010. \n\n\nLithium Batteries for Hybrid and Electric CarsDespite the amount of fuel needed to launch a space shuttle (835,958 gallons of liquid propellants)\u2014or perhaps because of \n\nit\u2014NASA is a big proponent of electric vehicles. So much so that the Kennedy Space Center worked with Hybrid Technologies, a \n\nmanufacturer of lithium-ion battery powered electric vehicles, to improve the battery management systems in the company's cars. The result of their \n\ncollaboration? The first all-electric taxi used in New York City as well as an electric MINI Cooper (pictured here). \n\n\nInfrared ThermometersThe aural thermometers parents and pediatricians use to take the temperatures of their squirmy little ones are based on technology that the \n\nspace shuttle uses to measure the temperature of distant stars and planets. The infrared sensors on the space shuttle get the temperature of a star \n\nby measuring the amount of infrared energy it emits. Aural thermometers function in a similar manner: They measure the amount of infrared energy \n\nthat the eardrum emits. Veterinarians use aural thermometers on dogs and cats. \n\n\nEye ExamsWhen kids have eye exams, it's likely that the equipment their optometrist or ophthalmologist uses is based on the optics technology that allows \n\ntelescopes to see into space. Scientists from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. adapted the optics technology so that it \n\ncould be used to screen people for eye disorders such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and cataracts. The product which emerged \n\nfrom the Marshall Space Flight Center's research, the VisiScreen Ocular Screening System-Clinical, has checked over three million children for \n\neye disorders.