Trivia

Hard

What Common Household Device Was Originally Created for NASA’s Skylab Space Station?

Mercury-Free Thermometers
LED Bulbs
Smoke Detectors
Microwaves
An example of an Allied Signal/Honeywell light-scattering smoke detector used in the ISS.
NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

Answer: Smoke Detectors

In millions of homes around the world, there are simple and inexpensive smoke detectors that use a radioactive isotope of Americium-241 to detect smoke’s extremely fine particulate in the air and sound a life-saving alarm.

This cheap and readily available smoke detector design was invented in the 1970s by the Honeywell Corporation at the behest of none other than NASA. The space agency wanted small and long-lived devices that would detect smoke and toxic gases aboard the Skylab space station, a place where early detection of smoke, fire, or overall deterioration of air quality was absolutely critical.

By the end of the 1970s, the project yielded another innovation in smoke detection, the photoelectric smoke detector (which detects smoke particulate with a light sensor). Later, companies would combine the two detection types to create a more efficient smoke detector since the two methods were discovered to be more sensitive to different kinds of smoke and fire.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, combination smoke detectors are the most effective since photoelectric sensors excel at detecting fires that begin with slow smoldering flames and ionization sensors excel at detecting fires where there isn’t a lot of smoke immediately visible (as the ionization sensor detects other chemical by-products of the combustion process).

More Trivia Questions

Trivia

Very Hard

The Last Surviving Member Of A Species Is Known As?

Trivia

Hard

“Dragon King” Is An Actual Title, And The King Rules Over?

Trivia

Hard

Which Video Game Is Considered To Have Defined The Genre Of Real-Time Strategy Games?

Trivia

Very Hard

Popular 1980s Arcade Game Donkey Kong Was Built On The Hardware Bones Of What Previous Game?

Trivia

Very Hard

The Largest Dwarf Planet In Our Solar System Is?

Trivia

Hard

The Most Expensive Rare Coin Ever Sold Was?

Trivia

Easy

Despite What Jurassic Park Would Have Us Believe, Which Dinosaurs Were Quite Tiny?

Trivia

Hard

What Is An Olympic Gold Medal Primarily Composed Of?

Trivia

Easy

On the Pacific Island of Yap Citizens Used What Unconventional Item as Currency?

Trivia

Hard

What Inspired Frank Herbert To Write His Iconic Sci-Fi Novel Dune?