Using Nanotechnology For Space Exploration

So What is Nanotechnology?

Essentially Nanotechnology is working with things at the nanoscale. One nanometre is just one billionth of a metre. To get an idea of how small that is; a hair strand shrunk by 100,000 times is the size of a nanometer. Which is incredible just to think about!🤯

What Does This Have to Do With Space?

We are already seeing the potential of nanotechnology through extensive research into the production and use of carbon nanotubes, nano-phase materials and molecular electronics. For example, from computer simulations, and available experimental data, some specific forms of carbon nanotubes appear to possess extraordinary properties as I mentioned above.

  • Built cheaper and smaller spacecraft
  • Have better radiation shielding
  • Exploring using nanobots/nanosensors

Building cheaper and smaller spacecraft

According to NASA: it costs $10,000 to put a pound of payload in Earth orbit. And that’s where nanotechnology comes in! By leveraging the properties of nanomaterials we can create lighter and stronger spacecraft. Carbon nanotubes are focusing the minds of space engineers and are expected to greatly enhance spacecraft.

Radiation Shielding

Space radiation is not the same as it is on Earth. it’s comprised of atoms in which electrons have been stripped away as the atom accelerated in space to speeds approaching the speed of light — eventually, only the nucleus of the atom remains.

The left side shows a space voyage and a solar particle event. The Right compares macroscopic thermal neutron cross-section( effective target area of all of the nuclei contained) between adding 2% BNNT and without it.

Using Nanobots and Nanosensors for Space Exploration

Exploring space with a swarm of nanobots is another popular application of nanotech in space. These robots can be very small and grouped to create autonomous nanotechnology swarms (ANTS).

TL;DR

Overall, nanotech and nanorobotics look extremely promising for applications in space exploration and colonization.

  • We can use nanotechnology to make stronger and lighter spacecraft components
  • Nanomaterials can protect us and equipment from cosmic radiation
  • Nanobots can be a more efficient space exploration method in the future

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Sumeet Pathania

Sumeet Pathania

9 Followers

Hi, I’m Sumeet and I’m a 19-year-old innovator. I am interested in emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence