NASA wants to protect astronauts and space ships in this sci-fi chain mail

Contributed by
Apr 26, 2017, 1:14 PM EDT (Updated)

NASA probably isn’t thinking about space knights with this stuff, but c’mon, the possibilities are endless.

Figuring out how to protect spaceships and the astronauts inside them is a key piece of the space exploration puzzle, and NASA believes this high-tech chain mail could eventually be a game changer. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California is developing a 3D printed chain mail material with a focus on reflectivity, passive heat management, foldability and tensile strength. One side reflects light, as the other absorbs it, to control heat. 

We are just scratching the surface of what's possible," JPL’s Andrew Shapiro-Scharlotta said. "The use of organic and non-linear shapes at no additional costs to fabrication will lead to more efficient mechanical designs."

The stuff can be folded and bent as needed, and with it essentially a 3D printed material, NASA believes they can eventually manufacture it in space as needed. Which could be a gamechanger as we eventually head out to the stars. It could be used to protect space ships, to protect astronauts during space walks, or (you know) to fight medieval wars in space. 

(Via NASA)

Make Your Inbox Important

Like Comic-Con. Except every week in your inbox.

Sign-up breaker