The aerospace and aeronautic fields use some of the most insanely futuristic technologies known to man. Thankfully, some of those technologies go perfectly hand in hand with car tech. These are the ten coolest space tech that have trickled down into the world of cars.

10.) Flame Retardant Fabric

After the loss of three NASA astronauts in a cabin fire occurring during training for Apollo 1, NASA called for increased research and resources to be devoted to the future of flame-retardant fabrics and technologies. Those fabrics have now evolved all the way to the current flame retardant materials that today’s commonly used firefighting gear and racing suits are made out of.

Suggested By: fairlady77, Photo Credit: alpinestars

9.) Heads Up Display


Originally developed for use in military fighter jets, heads up display technology can be found in luxury cars across the automotive industry. And now, most of them are even clear enough to actually be more useful than dangerous.

Suggested By: As Du Volant, Photo Credit: Affemitwaffe via Wikipedia

8.) Robotic Arms


With the introduction of the Canadarm (naturally, it was a Canadian-built space arm) in 1981, work and life in space was changed and made much easier. Astronauts could use the robotic arm to hold on to other spacecraft and do other miscellaneous tasks, and working on stuff is a whole lot better when you can hold it in place. Technology used for the Canadarm has also worked its way into the technology used for robotic arms on automotive factory production lines, enabling manufacturing robots to handle objects of varying delicacy, from heavy car parts to eggs.

I don’t know why an automotive manufacturing robot would need to pick up an egg, but it can. That’s all that matters.

Suggested By: GhostZ, Photo Credit: NASA

7.) The Tweel


Because of a need for a tire that could survive almost any climate without puncture or rip, NASA worked with Michelin for using the Tweel in the NASA Lunar Rover project. The Tweel (in case you haven’t figured it out, it’s a tire plus a wheel), brings to life the idea of an airless tire. In addition to its aerospace application, the Tweel is marketed by Michelin for industrial and agricultural applications and has begun testing in the automotive world.

Suggested By: The-Ever-Socially-Apathetic TBAL, Photo Credit: Michelin

6.) Aerogel


Known for its use in the C7 Corvette, Aerogel technology was previously used on the NASA Stardust spacecraft to collect floating space dust particles and also in NASA space suits as a thermal insulator.

Also, it was used in nuclear weapons. But that’s not really NASA’s thing.

Suggested By: burglar can’t heart click anything, Photo Credit: NASA

5.) Gold Foil Heat Shield


Because of its ability to insulate objects from extreme amounts of heat and radiation and its extra levels of durability, NASA originally called for gold foil heat shields to be used instead of aluminum or silver based heat shields. You can even see it on the landers that ferried astronauts to the Moon. It was then used in the McLaren F1’s engine bay to keep all the hot exhaust gases and combustion heat inside, and not burning through the engine cover.

Suggested By: Vin, Photo Credit: Sfoskett via Wikipedia

4.) GPS


Originally developed by the United States government for the Air Force by launching satellites via the space program, GPS is now an option in most consumer vehicles available for sale today.

It’s the technology that finally put an end to asking for directions. Don’t take it for granted.

Suggested By: sm70, Photo Credit: Audi via Jalopnik

3.) Fuel Cells


First used by NASA as a power source for satellites and other spacecraft, fuel cell vehicles are now available for consumer use in cars around the world. Cars such as the Toyota Mirai (hideously shown above), BMW i8 fuel cell prototype, and the hydrogen Hyundai Tucson are either currently on sale or are being tested by automakers.

Suggested By: I drive an Auto - Deal with it, Photo Credit: Jason Torchinsky/Jalopnik

2.) NACA Ducts


Before NASA was even invented, the United States had something called the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). These were the guys that pioneered the NACA duct, a new form of low-drag air intake, for use in air travel. Unfortunately for them, it wouldn’t work too well. Little did NACA engineers know that the NACA-styled duct would actually be perfect as a cooling intake for many road cars and race cars to come.

Suggested By: Gary Yogurt circa 1910, Photo Credit: Mark Holloway via Flickr

1.) Carbon Fiber


Originally used in rocket applications, carbon fiber has been popular for use in the aerospace and automotive industries because of its extremely high strength and extremely low weight. Because of this unique strength-weight ratio, many automakers are implementing more and more carbon fiber into the road cars of today and tomorrow.

Suggested By: As Du Volant, Photo Credit: Alfa Romeo

Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day’s Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It’s by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!


Top Photo Credit: SGL Group/BMW