Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Can Carbon Nanotubes Solve Our Micro Gravity Woes?

SpaceToys.com Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas

One of the largest obstacles towards humanity claiming ownership of the red planet (and the final frontier itself) is micro gravity. Without a solution a trip towards Mars could end up being fatal towards future travelers.

But it looks as if NASA is attempting to find a way around the gravity dilemma by inserting neural implants made out of carbon nanotubes inside the brain.

(EETimes.com) The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently reported progress toward a neural implant technology using carbon nanotubes that could enable space flights of indefinite periods.

By stimulating the neural pathways responsible for muscle atrophy, NASA hopes to fool the brain into thinking that gravity is still present even in free fall. "We hope to let the brain feel the weight of gravity, even if it's not there," said NASA scientist Jun Li. "For a trip to Mars, we could monitor astronauts' brains, then artificially stimulate its neurons with nanofiber electrodes to fool it into thinking gravity is still working."

Unlike other types of implants, the ones made out of carbon nanotubes seem to have a higher acceptance rate within brain tissue, which seems to find ways of shutting down these artificial intruders by building scar tissue around them.

This research is still in the "beta stages" although if perfected (a few decades from now), it could enable humanity to live among the stars without the fear of suffering from atrophy due to micro gravity.

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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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