Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Prosthetics... Lighter, Stronger, Better!

Since I just got knee surgery, I am stuck on the couch with a giant brace on my knee. I thought about how I could relate this to space exploration. I found an article from ANI  describes how the Europeans on the International Space Station discovered much more than expected with their Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. The purpose of this device is to study matter and anti-matter in space.
Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer from the ISS

What they also discovered was a carbon fiber material with multiple functions. Since the spectrometer was the largest experiment ever on the space station, it needed to be made of lightweight material. The carbon fiber used is now common in prosthetic limbs. Recently in the news headlines was South African sprinter, Oscar Pistorius, who gained world recognition for being the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics.
Hopefully research in space exploration will continue to improve life here on Earth as well. With technology like carbon fiber being multifunctional, it would only be fitting for space exploration research to also be multifunctional.


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