Sunday, November 09, 2008

God Or Evolution? Whichever, Nature Works.

Biomimetics involves applying the techniques of nature to technological products. (Here.) It makes sense because whether you believe God created nature or evolution made nature what it is today, the bottom line is nature works. Biomimetics has applications for human exploration of space.

Radiation in space can be deadly to astronauts. Here on Earth, people are protected from radiation by the magnetosphere. The problem for space travelers is how to duplicate that protection on spaceships traveling the long distances between planets. One proposal that's been kicked around for a while is to imitate nature by surrounding the spaceship with an artificially created magnetic bubble. Recent experiments show it could work.
"Researchers at the Science and Technology Facilities Council's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, the Universities of York, Strathclyde and IST Lisbon, have undertaken experiments, using know-how from 50 years of research into nuclear fusion, to show that it is possible for astronauts to shield their spacecrafts with a portable magnetosphere - scattering the highly charged, ionised particles of the solar wind and flares away from their space craft.

"Computer simulations done by a team in Lisbon with scientists at Rutherford Appleton last year showed that theoretically a very much smaller 'magnetic bubble' of only several hundred meters across would be enough to protect a spacecraft.

"Now this has been confirmed in the laboratory in the UK using apparatus originally built to work on fusion. By recreating in miniature a tiny piece of the Solar Wind, scientists working in the laboratory were able to confirm that a small 'hole' in the Solar Wind is all that would be needed to keep the astronauts safe on their journey to our nearest neighbours." (Here.)
On the other hand, imitating the snail might not be the best idea.


Republished once to add content.

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Biomimetics, also known as Bionics ( a term coined by an American air force officer in 1958), Biognosis, and Biomimicry, has been applied to a number of fields from political science to car design to computer science (cybernetics, swarm intelligence, artificial neurons and artificial neural networks are all derived from biomimetic principles).
Thanks for your comment, Tanyaa.
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