Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Stardust with Aerogel

Stardust space capsule
is home now. It came back capturing samples of interstellar dusts.
ok, I not an astronomer and not interested in interstellar dusts.
But there is one thing I fancy in that Stardust spacecraft.
It is aerogel. Aerogel is a strange material used in Stardust to capture very small interstellar and cometary particles.

It is semi-elastic but if the elastic limit is exceeded, it will shatter like glass.
It is ligher than air.
It looks like a hologram when you hold it.
Aerogel looks like a hologram when you hold it.
Though with a ghostly appearance like an hologram, aerogel is very solid. It feels like hard styrofoam to the touch.

It is a good thermal insulator.
Aerogel is a good thermal insulator.
photo illustrating the excellent insulating properties of aerogel. The matches on top of the aerogel are protected from the flame underneath.

A 2.5 kg brick is supported on top of a piece of aerogel weighing only 2 grams

Interested???? Read more in the following links and see the photos in high resolution. It cool.

http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov/photo/aerogel.html .
http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov/photo/ .
http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov/overview/faq.html#aerogel .
http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov/tech/aerogel.html .

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1 comment:

  1. Dude,
    that stuff seems like the coolest thing anyone can collect!


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