The perils of space flight number in the hundreds, from radiation exposure to the impact of micro-asteroids. But for astronauts who spend an extended amount of time floating weightlessly in the near-endless void of space, muscle atrophy remains the most common health problem. Thankfully, a shipment of RNA-treated worms may help scientists on the International Space Station solve that issue.
Star Trek introduced the world to a wide range of fictional technology, most of which, like beaming or warp drive, will likely remain fiction. However, a team of scientists from the University of Canada has taken the phaser, the show's famous stun-laser, out of the TV and into reality. Unfortunately, right now it only works on worms.
Imagine robots that operate without electronic components. Well, this week scientists at a robotics lab in Japan revealed a creation that could bring the scenario a step closer to reality. The team has created what looks to be a Technicolor inchworm made of motile gel that not only crawls by itself, but changes color depending on the environment it's in. And its creators say that this creeping, self-propelled goop might one day find its way into robots.
Scientists look to worm jaws, tougher than human teeth, for the next class of super-strong aerospace and construction material
By Jaya Jiwatram
Posted 07.18.2008 at 12:55 pm 1 Comment
It's well known that scientists commonly look to nature to create super-strong materials. Diamond powder, for instance, is used for oil drills and road machinery, and soon spider silk could be use in bullet-proof vests.
Recently, researchers have turned their attention to the fang-like jaws of marine worms, which they believe could lead to a new cutting-edge, lightweight material so strong that it could be used for construction and as repair material for spacecraft and airplanes.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.