Scientists from MIT have designed a next-generation spacesuit that acts practically as a second skin, and could revolutionize the way future astronauts travel into space. (Photo : Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT)
Astronauts are used to climbing into conventional bulky, gas-pressurized spacesuits, but this new design could allow them to travel in style. Soon they may don a lightweight, skintight and stretchy garment lined with tiny, muscle-like coils. Essentially the new suit acts like a giant piece of shrink-wrap, in which the coils contract and tighten when plugged into a power supply, thereby creating a “second skin.”
"With conventional spacesuits, you’re essentially in a balloon of gas that’s providing you with the necessary one-third of an atmosphere [of pressure,] to keep you alive in the vacuum of space," lead researcher Dava Newman, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems at MIT, said in astatement.
"We want to achieve that same pressurization, but through mechanical counterpressure - applying the pressure directly to the skin, thus avoiding the gas pressure altogether. We combine passive elastics with active materials. … Ultimately, the big advantage is mobility, and a very lightweight suit for planetary exploration."
Newman, who has worked for the past decade on a design for the next-generation spacesuit, describes the new garment in detail in the journal IEEE/ASME: Transactions on Mechatronics.
The MIT BioSuit’s coils, which are a main feature of the outfit, are made from a shape-memory alloy (SMA). At a certain temperature, the material can “remember” and spring back to its engineered shape after being bent or misshapen.
Skintight suits are not a novel idea, but in the past scientists have always struggled with the question: how do you get in and out of a suit that is so tight? That’s where the SMAs come in, allowing the suit to contract only when heated, and subsequently stretched back to a looser shape when cooled.
Though the lightweight suit may not seem at first like it can withstand the harsh environment that is outer space, Newman and his colleagues are sure that the BioSuit would not only give astronauts much more freedom during planetary exploration, but it would also fully support these space explorers.
Newman and his team are not only working on how to keep the suit tight for long periods of time, but also believe their design could be applied to other attires, such as athletic wear or military uniforms.
"An integrated suit is exciting to think about to enhance human performance," Newman added. "We’re trying to keep our astronauts alive, safe, and mobile, but these designs are not just for use in space."
Scuse you, Dava Newman is a FEMALE professor at MIT.
(fyi, I passed out in a vacuum chamber wearing an earlier version of this suit. =D)
Agree with all above tags but that aside THIS. IS. SO. COOL.
(AND SO ARE YOU tehnakki wowwww)
I am simultaneously thrilled by the awesomeness of the science and cracking up because the Incredibly Unrealistic Figure-Hugging Space-Suits of early sci-fi art have become suddenly possible.
You can upcycle 2-liter bottles by cutting them in half and using the top as a funnel, or inverting the top piece into the bottom half to make an instant wasp or bee catcher. Source
You can use a small piece of raw fish to attract wasps and yellow jackets, just had a little moisture from time to time, they’re pretty cool with it a bit rotten; they just want the protein. If one does manage to get out of the trap with some meat, they’ll be sure to tell their friends about the source. I’ve also heard pop, water and vinegar, beer or even laundry detergent works for them, going to try the beer one out for myself. Most of all avoid hanging traps by flowering gardens, trees, or any other place Bees like to hang out. Save the Bees yo.
Hey, guys? Please don’t kill wasps, either. They ARE pollinators too, and if the bees go, they’re one of the sorts of critters that will still be around to pollinate plants, including those we get food from. Plus some wasps prey on insects that devastate crops or are otherwise considered pests.
I know they get a bad rap because some wasp species are really aggressive, they can sting multiple times, and some of them are really good at hiding their nests so you don’t know about them until you’ve walked near it and gotten stung. But wasps are just doing what they need to do to survive—protect themselves and their homes and young. And we can learn how to coexist with them; yes, there are extreme situations like wasps building a big nest in your attic or being allergic to wasp stings, but most of the time they’re in their own space and aren’t a big threat if you just respect them and don’t bother them.
Finally, isn’t it rather sad how we only value animals based on how useful they are to us? Maybe if we self-centered humans pay more attention to the pollination and other activities of wasps, we’ll be less inclined to treat them like evil beings sent to harass us rather than just one of many species living on a diverse planet. If you want to help protect insects and other invertebrates crucial to all ecosystems, I recommend donating to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
Cutting to the chase I am doing a project for my art class that requires me to do a piece that is 60ftx1ft long.
60 feet is a HUGE size.
Long story short, I need your URLs, and if you reblog/like this post I will write your URL down on my piece.
I NEED 60 FEET OF URLS AND I HAVE SMALL HANDWRITING. PLEASE REBLOG FOR ONE REASON, AND ONE REASON ONLY:
this is actually the best reason ever
The game is on