(Image Credit: NASA, Hat Tip: Gizmodo)
If one were to list which blue collar space jobs would be needed for the future, Firefighters would be right at the top of the list (or at least up there with pig farmers).
Since fires can spread a lot faster in micro gravity than on our home world, NASA is preparing future explorers by equipping them with new ways to douse the space flames.
(MSNBC) "In space, fires are like spheres. They're not shaped like what we have on Earth," said James Butz, vice president of operations for Colorado-based ADA Technologies, which last week announced it had received a grant worth nearly $100,000 from NASA to continue work on an extinguisher that coats fires in a fine mist. [...]
The key to getting the droplets small enough is to use compressed gas. The system uses water and nitrogen so it is environmentally non-toxic and has an unlimited shelf life. Also, because oxygen and nitrogen will be aboard the spacecraft, the extinguisher can be refilled if needed.
This technology will not only be critical for future colonists traveling between the worlds, but also to settlers living upon dwarf worlds (like Ceres and Pluto) where the gravity is not as strong.
Even though NASA is preparing future explorers on how to deal with fires on a smaller scale, they may one day need a more specialized force (especially if humanity begins to thickly populate the spheres that dance around our Sun).
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