Saturn’s moon Enceladus.
(photo courtesy of Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA)
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."
Venus has no magnetic field. WHICH IS CRAZY.
If the Earth lacked a magnetic field we wouldn’t be here to take selfies. (“Earth’s magnetic field serves to deflect most of the solar wind, whose charged particles would otherwise strip away the ozone layer that protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation” Wiki).
"It appeared that there were holes on the nightside of Venus’ ionosphere. Researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center investigated these mysterious holes, and found evidence that the sun’s magnetic field lines may be penetrating through the planet."
”..the sun’s magnetic field lines may be penetrating through the planet.”
Reid Wiseman is a national treasure.
Coldest Star Found—No Hotter Than Fresh Coffee
According to a new study, a star discovered 75 light-years away is no warmer than a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
Dubbed CFBDSIR 1458 10b, the star is what’s called a brown dwarf. These oddball objects are often called failed stars, because they have starlike heat and chemical properties but don’t have enough mass for the crush of gravity to ignite nuclear fusion at their cores.
With surface temperatures hovering around 206 degrees F (97 degrees C), the newfound star is the coldest brown dwarf seen to date.
I’m gonna…I’m gonna touch it..
What if I just- put my hand-
45 years ago, three astronauts blasted off on a mission to put man on the moon.
gwen: Surface of Mars, photographed by Mars Express, 22nd August 2007.
Image runs southwest from 71°S 56°E, just south of the Dorsa Brevia, to 80°S 34°E, just west of the Promethei Rupes; about 615 km. The dunes (dark blue) in the 4th image are inside Main Crater (Robert Main, astronomer, 1808-1878).
Composite of 3 visible light images for colour, and one monochrome image for detail. Colours are relative, not naturalistic.
Image credit: ESA. Composite: AgeOfDestruction.
NASA astronaut films lightning from ISS
Astronaut Reid Wiseman posted a Vine from the International Space Station today showing lightning over Houston.
Tornado warnings were issued in the Houston area earlier this afternoon but have since expired.
Nigga we got space vines dis the future
We hope tonight you will stay off tumblr long enough to catch the entirely new Camelopardalids meteor shower, which promises be a good one. Comet dust from 209P/LINEAR, sloughed off 200 years ago in its orbit around the sun is due to enter our atmosphere and provide us a remarkable show. That is provided you find somewhere with clear skies away from sources of light.
Sidereus Nuncius, sometimes called Starry Messenger, is a short work by Galileo Galilei in 1610—or almost 200 years before 209P/LINEAR laid the groundwork for tonight’s show. Above is the verso of Galileo’s drawings of the Pleiades star cluster, which makes an exceptional background for our shooting stars. The edition is available for view online in our Heralds of Science collection, a set of books donated to the Smithsonian Libraries by noted book collector and founder of the Burndy Library, Bern Dibner. Our Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology is named in his honor.
Make Galileo proud.
…. Cloudy where I am AS PER USUAL.