We’re not sure if there is much relevance to OM in this story – but it’s a great story so we are blogging about it anyway. Inflatable spacecraft and space stations.
Yes, that’s right. Instead of using an great deal of power to lift metal out of our atmosphere, in order to construct space stations or travel to Mars, NASA and other agencies are now seriously considering using soft and lighter materials that can be inflated once in space. It seems that another advantage of these exotic materials, such as Vectran and Nomex, is that they will be more resistant to space debris and cosmic rays than metal is.
For more on this story see the article in The Economist.