Building spacecraft is a tough job. They are precision pieces of engineering that have to survive in the airless environment of space, where temperatures can swing from hundreds of degrees Celsius to hundreds of degree below zero in moments. Once a spacecraft is in orbit, engineers have virtually no chance of repairing anything that breaks. But what if a spacecraft could fix itself?
Thanks to a new study funded by ESAs General Studies Programme, and carried out by the Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Bristol, UK, engineers have taken a step towards that amazing possibility. They took their inspiration from nature.
"When we cut ourselves we dont 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 ESAs European Space Technology Research Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands, who oversaw the study.
Christopher Semprimoschnig | alfa
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