Photos: Humanity's Space Tech Tools & Ancient Artifacts

Human Tools for Earth and Space

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

The "Tools" exhibit, currently one display at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, brings together items and artifacts from nine Smithsonian museums and research centers, including the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. See photos from the exhibit here. At Left: A view of the gallery, with a live view of the sun by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Skylab Toolbox

A toolbox used by astronauts aboard Skylab. The box is similar to those used on Earth, but with some adjustments, like Velcro, to keep the tools in place in micro gravity.

Wall-Size Display of Video of the Sun

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

At the Cooper Hewitt Museum, curators recreated a wall-size display of video of the sun, similar to one found at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The images come from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Replica of Radio Astronomy Satellite Ariel 2

A replica of the first radio astronomy satellite, Ariel 2, launched by the United Kingdom's Science and Engineering Research Council in 1964.

B. F. Goodrich Mark V Pressure Suit

A B.F. Goodrich Mark V pressure suit from 1968. Suits like the Mark V were designed to keep aircraft pilots alive when they reached high altitudes, where oxygen was scarce (prior to the invention of pressurized cockpits). With the dawn of the space age, B.F. Goodrich tried to transition the suit technology to work for astronauts in the vacuum of space.

3D Printer Designed for Microgravity

Tom Chao/

An example of the first 3D printer built specifically for use in microgravity. One of these printers is currently undergoing tests aboard the International Space Station.

Made In Space 3D Printer Close Up

Tom Chao/

A close up of the 3D printer built for microgravity. Designed by NASA and a company called Made in Space, the printer must account for the peculiar conditions of microgravity, such as components floating away as they are produced. A fully functioning 3D printer aboard the station would liberate astronauts from their dependence on supplies sent up from Earth.

Tools for Observation

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

The objects and artifacts in the "Tools" exhibit are organized into categories that describe their basic function. Seen here is the section of tools that help humans observe the world. Other categories include tools to make things, tools to do work, tools to communicate, tools to measure and tools to survive.

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