12.7.2 Questions&Statements NEW!!!!

Why did scientists suggest surrounding the living quarters of the ship with the tanks of liquid hydrogen? Why could ionomers be used as the skin of a spacecraft? What could help to avoid millions of wires to carry signals from all the embedded sensors to the central computer? What is the main requirement to the adequate shielding against radiation? What is supposed to be the best container for hydrogen at high densities? When would the layer of self-reconstructing material keep the cabin airtight?

Scientists are exploring a range of new technologies to lighten the spacecraft while increasing its safety, reliability and functionality. Biotech, nanotech and information technologies are converging to give scientists Unprecedented control of matter on the molecular scale. There are materials weighing 4-6 grams per square meter, which are ultra-thin films that can be used for antennas or instrument panels or even vast solar sails and propulsion. If some part is starting to fail these sensors could warn the central computer before the tragedy strikes. Nowadays substances 100 times the strength of still and 1/6 its weight, materials instantly reconstructing themselves when damaged, surfaces feeling the pressure acting on them, instantly changing into solids and back, structural materials that can generate and store electricity exist. Materials that make up critical systems in a spaceship could be embedded with nanometer scale sensors that constantly monitor the material’s conditions.


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