We love our jobs, but if NASA ever called we’d be packing our bags faster than a roadrunner on speed.
One of the many reasons for this is that, today, the US space agency created a new material designed to repair punctures in space vehicles such as the International Space Station (ISS).
The material (which has no name right now, as is only referred to by the process that it uses: “Rapid, Puncture-Initiated Healing via Oxygen-Mediated Polymerization”) is actually two solid layers with a liquid in the middle. When the solid parts are pierced, and the liquid comes into contact with the air, it will harden and fill in the gaps.
It seems the team at NASA had the same idea, as they tested out their invention by shooting at it. The damaged cause by the bullet was said to “heal” in less than a second. That’s the stuff of science fiction right there.
So, when can we have our autonomous, liquid killing machines? Not very soon, it seems, as the material is simply intended to be a reactive measure to close holes -it doesn’t actually prevent damage or stop bullets. It will hopefully be inserted discretely into the existing structural materials NASA uses for space crafts, but the properties of this could be applied to more Earth vehicles too.
If you’re brushed up on your engineering, chemistry and general research-paper lingo, you can read more about the material in excruciating detail in the science journal ACS Macro Letters.[Via – IFL Science]