How NASA has prepared us for life in the void

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April 2, 2012

By Bob Difley
RV_on_the_moonI just finished reading Packing for Mars, The Curious Science of Life in the Void, by Mary Roach about NASA, the space rogram, and the quest to land human beings on Mars–and hopefully bring them back again after they figure out how.

The depth of the science NASA has undertaken, the difficulty of testing zero gravity effects in a gravity world, public relations (and varying public opinion), astronaut safety, and the  imbeded cultural norms in we fickle humans and how to deal with them have all become serious considerations in long range space planning—-and are much more complex than my sadly uninformed mind had ever imagined.

But what really struck me was how our lives as RVers and the RV lifestyle have been affected and drastically altered–in fact, improved might be a better word–from NASA’s experiments, inventions, and technological advancements that were directed solely into the goal of flinging human beings off the face of the earth into outer space, keeping them functional while out there, and bringing them back safely (this wasn’t always done when monkeys were used in the first flights).

As Mary Roach says in her book, “If it’s cordless, fireproof, lightweight and strong, miniaturized, or automated, chances are good NASA has had a hand in the technology.” High speed wireless data transfer is a good example. Where would modern-day RVers be without the ability to surf the web, upload hundreds if not thousands of digital photos to online photo albums, and download Google Earth maps of our travel itinery.

Cordless power tools like screwdrivers, drills, and saws, and quicky clean up devices like dustbusters can be found in most RVs today thanks to NASA’s technological advancements. And how about implantable heart monitors? Those who have them might not be alive to enjoy the RV Lifestyle into their Golden Years without NASA’s miniaturizing developments.  If you have a high-line motorcoach you may have a trash compactor thanks to NASA, and those of you with high-line wives can thank NASA for sports bras.

NASA scientists have also developed ways to purify urine so that it can be drunk just like water–and just as clean (so they tell us). Think what a boon this would be to boondockers, who not only would be able to reduce the amount of potable water they need to carry to their campsite out in the boonies, but it would also reduce the amount of waste flowing into the black tank which in turn reduces trips to the dump station. But now that I think about it, there might be some of NASA’s advancements where we would want to draw the line.

When you’re not lost in thought when  contemplating taking your RV to the moon, please take a look at my Healthy RV Lifestyle website and ebooks: BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands (PDF or Kindle), 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang out of your RV Lifestyle Dollar (PDF or Kindle), and Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts (PDF or Kindle).

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  9. frank lodico

    I remember years ago a study showing ratio of money spent on the space program being something like $1 = $6 return to the economy over a pretty short time frame. We should be focused on that, and replies should be focused on the topic at hand. Go to a politics site to whine about politics. And ask your mom when dinner’s ready while ya go. (Trolls, gotta give ‘ a little positive boost once in a while.)

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  11. i think you had good experience while you were at! it is good provides more and more information about space.
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  12. Dave Odekirk

    NASA, the best part of the federal government. Neutered by the current administration. Maybe all those unemployed NASA engineers and scientists can be hired by the RV and GPS manufacturers.

  13. Tire of Butterbean

    Butterbean needs to go dry camping where there is no Cell Service! It appears he has too much spare time on his hands. Lately he has a Smart A. response to every single Blog that no one cares to read. We do not care about his comment when he say’s good article or his smart comments. If you can not add something good just leave it alone!

  14. butterbean carpenter

    Howdy AstroRV Bob,
    Weeeel doggies, Jethro, ol’ Bob has read a book? and now he’s agonna take the boondockers to Mars!! Where will the fuel come from? Oh yeah, solar powered
    Electric Winnebagos!!!! That there NASA did come up up with some good things, even if ol’ Greg White was sleeping on those new foam mattresses, just testing them, of course.. We can hitchhike on one of the rockets we paid for from Russia
    when we had to shut our space exploration down..
    Rather a fine piece of word-smithing ol’ bean!!!

  15. Ron Butler


    Good article. So we did get more from the space program than Tang!!

    I will have to check Amazon and see if that is in Kindle form yet. Sounds interesting. I find it amazing that we don’t have the vision and inspiration to keep our “space dreams” funded and continue our exploration of space. That was one (of several) disappointments I have had with the current administration,.

    I still have a paperbook of “The Right Stuff” and a copy on my Kindle. May have to do another reread of that as well!