The surprise answer? NASA! Open cell polyurethane-silicon plastic, also known as temper foam or memory foam, can return to its original shape even after being compressed to a tenth of its size [source: Space Technology Hall of Fame]. It was developed by NASA as a shock absorber for aircraft and spacecraft seats, since it has excellent weight and pressure distribution characteristics. Nowadays, it is also used in specialized mattresses and cushions to help prevent bedsores and decrease the friction between prosthetics and joints. It's even made its way into some motorcycle and airline seats and even household pillows and beds.
What are some of NASA's future projects?
Answered by Waleed Abdalati and James L. Green
Why is the Chandler X-ray telescope important?
Answered by Science Channel
Can a mission to Mars work with today's budget pressure?
Answered by Charles F. Bolden Jr.