NASA did not give us Tang, Velcro, or the Fisher Space Pen, but they do a tremendous amount that most people never see.
- The grooves in newer highways used to control drainage and reduce noise were developed by NASA to prevent hydroplaning on runways.
- The main reason we no longer hear about crashes due to wind shear is the onboard predictive doppler radar developed by NASA to solve the problem. (The other is fixed-site doppler operated near large airports by NOAA and used in conjunction with ATC).
- The aerodynamic fairings that save long haul truckers 20% on fuel were developed by NASA.
- The supercritical airfoils developed by NASA improve the efficiency of modern airliners flying at high subsonic speeds.
- Aircraft winglets, which cut drag, improve lift, and permit larger aircraft on smaller runways, were developed by NASA.
- Computational Fluid Dynamics—as a practice—was founded and funded by NASA because they needed it for the shuttle. Most modern aircraft would be much more primitive and costly without it.
- The noise reducing chevrons on modern turbofan jet engines were developed by NASA.
- NASA found part of the cause of of the runaway engines involved in the Toyota Camry recall.
- NASA also developed the aircraft lightning protection standards in place today and small aircraft wing design changes that could cut fatalities in those craft by 30% if universally adopted.