The Story Of How A NASA Engineer Invented The Super Soaker

One of your favorite childhood toys wasn't dreamed up by a team of kids or an inventive product marketer. The Super Soaker, a staple of the summers of our youth, was actually invented at NASA. More accurately, by a NASA engineer.

Lonnie Johnson invented the Super Soaker in 1982, in between all sorts of other epic accomplishments. Johnson worked on NASA's Galileo mission to Jupiter, highly classified stealth programs with the government, and now, he's toiling away on some high-tech fabric technology that can store more energy than a phone battery. Just to make the rest of us look extra lazy, in his spare time, Johnson also invented a variety of amazing things.

Video: Courtesy The Scene.

The idea for the world's favorite water gun came to Johnson when he was working on some nozzles and shot a stream of water across the bathroom. In the video above, he explains how he thought he should put the "hard science" aside and perhaps use this concept in a toy. Now that is true brilliance at work — not just building a cool new piece of hardware, but realizing it has a fun commercial application, too. The Super Soaker was originally called "The Drencher" but underwent a name change because a competitor was already using that moniker.

As if that weren't enough, we also have Johnson to thank for the Nerf gun.

Keep on being awesome, Lonnie. We can't wait to see what you come up with next.

More from Tech

Complaining today is much easier than it used to be. Lost luggage, bad service, extra charges, broken products — you used to have to put a letter in the ...
It's Google's 18th birthday which means it can finally see all the porn it serves up
Tonight marks the first of three presidential debates between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Because of the debate's close proximity to New...
GENERATION STARTUP presents Women In Tech, an episode of an exclusive web series with footage left on the cutting room floor. The feature documentary ...
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) developed a phone app that will assist you in recording and reporting police conduct. The app, Mobile Justice, ...
If you aren't registered to vote, don't panic. As a matter of fact, thanks to Snapchat, you can now do it in just one minute, reports Time. The social-...
You may start to notice your Uber drivers snapping a lot of selfies, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you're riding with an Instagram addict. Your ...
(Paid Content) Refinery29 is now on Versy, a messaging and content-sharing app made for busy people like us
Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel announced that the company has developed new video-enabled sunglasses, called Spectacles, and will subsequently be rebranding ...
You're at 20,000 feet, and you realize your flight doesn’t have WiFi — which wouldn't be a big deal, except you forgot your book at home, and none of your ...
It's a sad but true fact that a bad commute — one where you just miss the bus or subway — has the power to ruin your day. More often than not, these near...
When you think of playing a video game, what comes to mind? Is it a raucous game of Wii Bowling when you were in college? Hours spent on your Game Boy ...
If you're a Yahoo user (or ever have been), you'll want to change your password ASAP — and not just on that Yahoo account. Today, the company confirmed ...
There are two types of people in this world: the zero-inbox purists, and the ones with hundreds (or even thousands) of unread messages in their inbox. ...