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"Space Chainmail--for Reals" Topic

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1,584 hits since 30 Apr 2017
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emckinney30 Apr 2017 10:59 a.m. PST

NASA Is Developing 3D-Printed Chain Mail to Protect Ships and Astronauts

Chain mail was an essential tool for medieval warriors hoping to avoid a quick (or slow) death by a sword. But NASA engineers hope a similar material, with a few modern upgrades, could prove to be just as useful for spacecraft and astronauts looking to survive the rigors of outer space.

The biggest improvement NASA has made in its twenty-first century version of chain mail, developed by a team led by Raul Polit Casillas at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is how it's manufactured. Instead of a medieval blacksmith spending weeks painstakingly connecting tiny loops of metal, one by one, the material shown above and below is 3D printed by a machine, which means it could be produced as needed on the space station, or on other off-Earth habitats, depending on where we travel in the coming decades.


Stryderg30 Apr 2017 11:34 a.m. PST

Having made a very little bit of chain mail the old fashioned way, this is very cool.

Mobius30 Apr 2017 2:28 p.m. PST

It also doesn't have to be just a copy of wire loops. While the connecting links have to fit together to be flexible, the internal area could be filled in so it would be more like mini-scale armor.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP30 Apr 2017 3:45 p.m. PST

What they didn't say is that female astronauts will also now have to wear bikinis and stripper shoes …..

daler240D Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member30 Apr 2017 4:16 p.m. PST

oh…I thought this was going to be an update to the TSR Chainmail rules by Gygax.

Personal logo nvdoyle Supporting Member of TMP30 Apr 2017 4:20 p.m. PST

Yeah, boosting metal for armor into LEO, unless we're using Orions, is not going to happen much. Kevlar and other things are far more likely.

David Johansen30 Apr 2017 10:02 p.m. PST

Plenty of metal up there already. High time we figure out how best to collect resources in space rather than boosting them up there from planetside.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2017 1:47 a.m. PST

Maybe they can start by making a huge butterfly net and catching all the junk bits we've already left floating around.

One day a small flying piece of junk is going to go right through a space suit or a pressurized chamber on the station, killing whoever is up there.

It's not a matter of if.


StarCruiser03 Oct 2017 7:03 p.m. PST

^ Yep, it's only a matter of when…

zircher04 Oct 2017 7:41 p.m. PST

I think the best solution for cleaning up orbit is a satellite in geosync orbit with a laser and directional mirror. From the high ground it identifies and pushes objects into lower orbits until it burns up in the atmosphere. Easy, clean, and relatively cheap. Shame that some folks would absolutely freak out about having a laser 'weapon' in orbit that could fire down on the planet (ignoring things like the actual applied power would be light as a feather.)

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