20 June 2024
Using 'waste' product from recent NASA research

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Unveiling a revolutionary use for by-products of NASA studies, University of Sussex scientists have crafted cutting-edge nanomaterials, setting the stage for sustainable life on Mars.

Well, isn’t this exciting? Imagine this: you’ve probably heard of recycling, right? It’s when we take something that’s been used, like a plastic bottle, and make it into something new, like a bench or a t-shirt. Now, take that idea and blast it off to Mars! That’s basically what these clever folks over at the University of Sussex are doing with what was once considered space junk.


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Here’s the scoop: there’s this material on Mars called gypsum. It’s kind of like what you’d find in drywall at your house. When astronauts are hanging out on the International Space Station, they need water (because, you know, staying hydrated is super important), and they can get it from gypsum. But in the process, they’re left with this stuff called anhydrite, which is like the unwanted crust of the sandwich that no one really knows what to do with.


But these Sussex scientists? They saw this anhydrite and thought, “Hey, we can make something awesome with this!” So they start tinkering and end up creating these tiny, tiny structures called nanobelts. We’re talking about things so small that you’d need to line up tens of thousands of them to match the width of one of your hairs!


These nanobelts are not just any old belts, though. They’re like little powerhouses that could someday help make clean energy, which means we could have a way to power stuff without making a mess of our planet—or Mars. Plus, these tiny wonders could even make things stronger, like making fabric tough enough to withstand the harsh Martian environment. That means future space explorers could have better suits or build sturdier homes on Mars.


But here’s the really cool part: all of this magic happens with methods that are super friendly to the environment. They use water in their experiments, and they can keep using the same water over and over again. It’s like having a water park that never wastes a drop!


Now, making full-blown electronics out of this stuff on Mars might be a bit tricky at the moment. After all, Mars doesn’t have the super clean rooms we have here on Earth that are needed for making delicate tech gadgets. But back home, this discovery could help us make our own energy sources cleaner and more sustainable. That’s a big win for everyone!


So, next time you think about ‘waste,’ remember that with a little creativity and science know-how, even the stuff we thought was useless could help us explore new worlds and take better care of our own. It’s all about seeing the potential in the things around us and finding ways to make the most of it. And who knows? With this kind of thinking, the sky’s not the limit—it’s just the beginning!

SOURCE: Using ‘waste’ product from recent NASA research, scientists create transformative nanomaterials



1. What is gypsum and anhydrite?

Gypsum is a material found on Mars that is similar to what you would find in drywall. Anhydrite is a substance that is left over when astronauts extract water from gypsum.

2. What are nanobelts?

Nanobelts are tiny structures created by scientists that are so small, you would need tens of thousands of them to match the width of a single hair. These nanobelts have the potential to be used for clean energy and to strengthen materials.

3. How can nanobelts help with clean energy?

Nanobelts have the potential to be used in clean energy production, allowing us to power devices without causing harm to the environment.

4. Can nanobelts make materials stronger?

Yes, nanobelts have the ability to strengthen materials. For example, they could be used to make fabric that is durable enough to withstand the harsh Martian environment.

5. How are the methods used to create nanobelts environmentally friendly?

The scientists use water in their experiments and can reuse the same water multiple times. This reduces waste and is more sustainable for the environment.

Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: University of Sussex, Nanomaterials, Mars

University of Sussex
The University of Sussex is a public research university located in Falmer, East Sussex, England. It lies mostly within the city boundaries of Brighton and Hove. Its large campus site is surrounded by the South Downs National Park, and provides convenient access to central Brighton 5.5 kilometres (3.4 mi) away....
Read more: University of Sussex

Nanomaterials describe, in principle, materials of which a single unit is sized (in at least one dimension) between 1 and 100 nm (the usual definition of nanoscale). Nanomaterials research takes a materials science-based approach to nanotechnology, leveraging advances in materials metrology and synthesis which have been developed in support of...
Read more: Nanomaterials

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun. The surface of Mars is orange-red because it is covered in iron(III) oxide dust, giving it the nickname "the Red Planet". Mars is among the brightest objects in Earth's sky and its high-contrast albedo features have made it a common subject for...
Read more: Mars

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