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.

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