Saturday, January 21, 2006

A Living Ship? Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas
(Hat Tip: Space News Blog)

Orbital Shuttles often face the extremes of outerspace. Floating in a region where temperatures can change from hundreds of degrees above zero to below in an instant can be devastating over time as cracks can form, causing future havoc.

One scientist has come up with a proposal to resolve this issue, by using a technique he found demonstrated in nature.

( "When we cut ourselves we don't have to glue ourselves back together, instead we have a self-healing mechanism. Our blood hardens to form a protective seal for new skin to form underneath," says Dr Christopher Semprimoschnig, a materials scientist at ESA's European Space Technology Research Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands, who oversaw the study. [...]

He and the team at Bristol did it by replacing a few percent of the fibres running through a resinous composite material, similar to that used to make spacecraft components, with hollow fibres containing adhesive materials. Ironically, to make the material self-repairable, the hollow fibres had to be made of an easily breakable substance: glass.

Basically whenever the "skin" of the ship is damaged, the fibers are suppose to break open releasing the liquids sealing the crack within. This would allow astronaut's to not only travel through the vast emptiness of space between planets, but also the asteroid belt as well.

Other uses could be applied towards the future Martian colonies (as the wind storms can be hazardous for any future residents). This technology is at least a decade away, but hopefully humanity will see experimentation not only on shuttle craft, but also upon the moon.

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You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

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~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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