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At the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, we can thank NASA for memory foam, pet odor filters — and GPS on your iPhone

Decades of innovation on how best to study outer space have fallen down to Earth, into store aisles, smartphones and American households.

On July 20, 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped on the Moon declaring, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The NASA program that got Armstrong there pushed forward technology on rockets and satellites — laying the groundwork for the GPS navigation systems millions of people now use in their smartphones.

‘It’s not frivolous work. We’re ushering in the future.’

—Daniel Lockney, executive of NASA’s Technology Transfer Program

But some people might not know it’s also propelled the launch of many more mundane consumer products, including memory foam and air filters for pet odors.

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