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Hollow microfibres will seep liquid adhesive if a puncture occures - Coutesy of ESA
Spaceships are expensive and hard to repair - the ESA is working on programs to have spacecraft "heal" themselves

Researchers at the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Bristol, as a part of the ESA's General Studies Programme, may have made a step in the right direction towards the possibility of a self-healing spacecraft.  The researchers apparently got the idea from how human skin heals itself:

When we cut ourselves we don't 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.
This was done by replacing a small percent of the fibres running through a resinous composite material with hollow fibres that contain adhesive materials.  One of the advantages of a self-healing spacecraft is that it is more likely that NASA could launch longer duration space missions.

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The future is NOW.
By Xenoterranos on 1/23/2006 1:34:27 AM , Rating: 3
I've been wondering for years how a self-healing man-made material could be made to work. This is an awsome first step into the realm of ultra-long-term durables. The next step would be to add some kind of nano technology or chemical reactant of some kind that rebuilt he tubes and filled them up again. Coupled with memory-metal technology, this could help solve that "space-junk" problem they're starting to notice. O
I wonder how fast it "heals." A healed spaceship full of dead astronauts is still a bad thing ;)

RE: The future is NOW.
By BillyBatson on 1/23/2006 3:06:46 PM , Rating: 2
The goal is to save the spacecraft, not lives =p

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