We may never know how many things we take for granted in our daily lives came as a result of the space program. After reading Dwight's note "Obama's Curiosity" (what the President and his cronies really needs is imagination so they don't have to claim responsibility for someone else's success), I did a little research on what we have gained from the space program to date. Here are just a few things:
scratch resistant lenses for glasses because a little nick from a piece of space debris can do a lot of damage to a spacecraft
technology from the mechanical robot arm used in the first Voyager mission to Mars has been utilized in implantable insulin pumps
memory foam used in mattresses was designed to pad spacecraft seats for hard impact landings
smaller, more compact remote control ventilators for use in emergency rooms and ICUs, developed in 2011 through a partnership with Impact Instrumentation Inc., in New Jersey. The ultimate goal is for ventilators to be fully automatic.
The list is way too extensive to go into here but if you are curious, go to http://spinoff.nasa.gov/spinoff/database
The link is to a database which you can explore to see the technologies that have come from the space program. NASA puts out a publication called Spinoff and has since 1976. It shows some of the advances in different areas like safety, communications, medicine, etc. that were developed through partnerships with private companies and NASA. Ever wonder why our technology seems to be advancing so rapidly you can't keep up? A well-funded space program has made much of it possible.
But the vision seems to be to shift much of NASA's development of new spacecraft to the private sector. Something from NASA's own site summarizing a small part of a speech President Obama gave in April 2010: "The president said it will be quicker and less costly to let private companies develop new spacecraft for astronauts rather than continue with NASA's Constellation Program, which was deemed too expensive and behind schedule." (Link: http://www.nasa.gov/about/obamaspeechfe ... #backtoTop
The reference to the high-speed train scheme in California reminded me of an excellent YouTube video about a space technology company, the high speed train and why the company moved its base of operations to Midland, Texas. It is part of the Afterburner series of programs with Bill Whittle. The link is here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9HzwA7Oi6M
And President Obama and John Holdren did not build that.
You're the best figment my imagination ever had.